Friday, December 5, 2014

Book Review: "The Bone Clocks" by David Mitchell

Holy crap, this book rocked! But honestly, as I was reading it and marveling in it, I kept thinking, "How am I going to review this?" So please indulge me.

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

Holly Sykes is a sensitive yet rebellious 15-year-old growing up in 1980s England. When she gets into a huge fight with her mother over her new, older boyfriend, Holly leaves home, but quickly finds her plans to move in with him don't materialize the way she hoped. Searching for where to go next, she encounters strange people, hears voices, and finds herself in some bizarre situations. She remembers when as a child she heard voices she called "the radio people" and had visions of a beautiful, mysterious woman, but she was supposedly "cured" by a doctor. As Holly tries to make her way, things get stranger and stranger, and she has no idea she's caught in a tug of war between two different types of other-worldly people. And then she learns of a real-life tragedy that truly impacts her.

The Bone Clocks is divided into six novellas, of sorts, each in a different decade, from 1984 to 2043, and each main character has a connection to Holly. From an egotistical student at Cambridge with nefarious plans to gain the wealth he believes he deserves, to the war reporter who truly only feels alive when he's in the midst of crisis and danger, to the once-best-selling author determined to seek revenge on the critic he believes has ruined his chance for future success, each of the main characters find themselves drawn into the same type of mysterious situations Holly did.

For lack of a better word, this book is phantasmagorical, but so, so brilliant. I'll admit I didn't understand everything that happened between the horologists and the "carnivores" (and the less said about this, the better for someone yet to read the book), but David Mitchell's storytelling was so breathtakingly good, so utterly captivating, that it didn't matter. I truly was surprised by two things—that a 650-page book could have such rapid pacing, and just how much heart this book had. I was fascinated by the characters and the situations they found themselves in, and I was sad when the book ended, because I wish I could have spent more time with them.

I've never read anything by David Mitchell before, but The Bone Clocks has whet my appetite for more. This was unlike most other books I've read, but I am surprised at how much I loved it. This isn't a book for everyone, so you need to be comfortable with just letting the story flow, and suspending your disbelief. This is easily one of the best I've read this year.

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