Book review: The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell (Three Stars)

Book review: The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

Three Stars out of Five

“If you love and are loved, whatever you do affects others.”

A fascinating and frustrating urban fantasy/dystopia. Think Wrinkle in Time told by Holden Caulfield who morphs into Billy Pilgrim. The Great Experts may rate it higher or lower; I have no argument with them.

“[x] will be reported and retweeted and become the truth.”

Less than half the 600+ pages follow the story of Holly Sykes. Whole “books” are devoted to characters tangential at best to her story and bewildering to the reader. It’s all very literary, just boring. Holly’s voice is great and evolves as she ages, but the other characters (some of whom should sound very different from Holly) have the same voice.

Told by, to and for British. (American readers will find themselves adrift among real and invented Anglo-Irish jargon.) That said, he successfully invoked real and imagined pop culture of the past, present and near future. Perhaps a bit of auto-biographical lampooning.

“My truth is no crazier than their faith, and no saner either.” But Clocks disproves Mitchell’s claim that bigotry follows spelling ability. In his way he’s just as just as bigoted as some card-board villains he tars and feathers. “If you could reason with religious people there wouldn’t be any religious people.”

Numerous technical gaffs. One cannot see the Southern Cross from Cartagena, Colombia. (10 degree North latitude).

Wonderfully developed, if slightly silly, dystopia. (Running out of light bulbs in 2043? Light bulbs will have vanished before then.) I certainly agree with, “My generation were diners stuffing ourselves senseless … knowing—while denying—that we’d be doing a runner and leaving our grandchildren a tab that can never be paid.”

“Not even God can change the past.” (Credited as Arabic by Mitchell, but also attributable to Agathon, a fourth century BC Greek philosopher.)

“Some magic is merely normality that you’ve not experienced yet.”


2 thoughts on “Book review: The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell (Three Stars)

  1. I liked Bone Clocks very much. I’d give it a 4 and a half. One place you wrote 2 and one place 3, maybe you rate it two and a half?
    But our taste is often far apart. I love the meaning of the title.

  2. I changed my mind and then didn’t update everywhere. Thanks.

    Yes, the bone clock idea is good.

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