April 23, 2021

The Bone Clocks by author David Mitchell

I get most of my books from family members, neighbors or the public library so I’m usually a season behind in my reading. The Bone Clocks, a 2014 fantasy drama by David Mitchell finally arrived at my local library. Undaunted by the length of the book, I dove in, for no less than Stephen King deemed it one of his favorite books last year.

We follow the main character, Holly Sykes as she runs away from Gravesend in England as a teenager, works in a bar at a Swiss ski resort, has a child with a journalist covering the Iraq war and raises a grandchild in Western Ireland as the world unravels. Interwoven with her life are beings whose spirits incarnate in a series of human bodies. These entities are divided into two factions that are battling to the death. We only get glimpses of this supernatural world until the last third of the book.

Mitchell has the reputation for bizarre fantasy scenarios and big shifts in time and geography in his novels, having written 2004’s best-seller, Cloud Atlas and this current work follows that format. If you are up for a literary challenge, Mitchell’s beautiful prose and inventive plotting make your investment of time and patience pay off. In honesty, the weight of this book, in both senses of the word, might render this not the ideal choice for the beach or the bus.

The Bone Clocks was on the long list for the Man Booker Prize in 2014 which is given annually to the best work of fiction. Ten years-worth of previous nominees on the Man Booker web site provides a veritable treasure trove of well-written novels. You may want to check out their previous short and long list selections for what you might want to put on your nightstand in the future.


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