Many thanks to Nikki Barrow at Sceptre and Bookbridgr for my review copy of David Mitchell’s ‘The Bone Clocks’. It is out in paperback on 18th June 2015.
Following the central character Holly Sykes, ‘The Bone Clocks’ is a vast tale spanning from 1984 to 2043. After an argument with her mother, Holly runs away from home and so begins a story that tracks her life as it is mysteriously linked to a small band of beings attempting to rid the world of a soul decanting foe.
It is impossible to categorise ‘The Bone Clocks’. I don’t usually enjoy fantasy fiction and there is a good proportion in this novel, but what makes it so much better than merely a fantasy tale is the skill with which Mitchell weaves fantasy elements into the real world so that they are utterly convincing. So too are the characters, and readers can identify totally with Holly Sykes. Her responses to the action of the book mirror those of the reader so that we are almost part of the story, receiving the same shocks and jolts along the way.
There are massive themes explored here – from loyalty to evil, climate change to murder, love to life-threatening illness and all are woven together in a manner that I found captivating almost in spite of myself. I loved the structure of the six separate sections which could almost be read as stand alone short stories.
‘The Bone Clocks’ is not like reading an ordinary novel. I found it more of an experience than a read. My mind was assaulted by humour, empathy, shock and fear and just as I felt I had a grasp on the plot, another twist would send my understanding spiralling in a different direction with a different narrator pulling me along. David Mitchell is an extraordinary writer.
If I had any criticism at all it would be that occasionally I felt some of the cultural references were a little self conscious but they added so much context and colour to the novel I understand their inclusion.
I’d defy anyone reading ‘The Bone Clocks’ by David Mitchell not to be amazed by his skill as a storyteller. I can’t wait until his next novel ‘Slade House’ is out in October.