The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

DSC07287 - CopyI received this beautiful book as a pre-travel gift from a very dear friend who had visited my favourite little book shop – Timeout in Mt Eden – and seen me looking at it longingly. I’d been admiring the cover for a long time and I liked the recommendation blurb on it in the store. Elements of fantasy and history and magic realism all combined sounded too intriguing to go past.

The novel is divided into parts, each in a different time or place or perspective. The unifying thread is the life of Holly Sykes who is the first narrative voice. In the subsequent parts of the book we get other people’s stories but through each one we glimpse Holly as she goes through life. It’s a fantastic novel to read while travelling (as I was when I read it) because it dips in and out of different countries with some parts set in the UK, others in France, Iceland, and Australia.
I liked that there was a historical feel to the novel and that the fantasy elements were only introduced and understood gradually. Instead of having to wrap your head around a different reality all at once as is often the case in fantasy novels, you have time to absorb different elements of fantasy or magic as they are revealed.

Holly is a fascinating character and I love the way her character grows and changes. I think she becomes a particularly three dimensional character through the way we are able to view her through so many sets of eyes – including her own. She has so many significant chapters to her life and at no point did I tire of her. She’s awesome.

The book starts in the 1980s and stretches into the future as far as 2025 and offers a suitably grim view of where our society is heading. It’s a little too plausible for comfort and provides a healthy dose of perspective in our age of first world problems.
At times the narrative is a bit dense and it took me a lot longer to read than I expected. There is some fantastic use of foreshadowing and some lovely and whimsical imagery. As you may expect with a book dealing so closely in the supernatural, it also addresses religion and superstition in an interesting way.
The Bone Clocks was an enjoyable read and I liked so many aspects of it. Rating 4/5 stars! And I would definitely recommend it. My paperback has since travelled into other hands as it was a huge edition and a bit cumbersome to fit in my luggage. I was very sad to see it go, but Pete tells me I can buy another one eventually. I’ve seen it for sale all over the place so it shouldn’t be too hard to get a hold of if you are looking for a good read!

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