the story of a young man who discovers his mother's affair. a strong look at family dynamics and the struggles of a 17yo trying to m3.5-stars, really.
the story of a young man who discovers his mother's affair. a strong look at family dynamics and the struggles of a 17yo trying to make sense of it all, while realizing his parents aren't who he thought they were. and that everyone is capable of weakness and making poor choices....more
a very strong novel about a boy growing up with his grandfather - through whose love the boy's character develops. billy also hears all of the familya very strong novel about a boy growing up with his grandfather - through whose love the boy's character develops. billy also hears all of the family stories, since he is the last one, in order that he can pass the history along to his own family one day. billy is smart, opinionated, and stands up for what he believes in....more
another great one by anne tyler. i could completely relate to rebecca in her search for 'place' in the world, and her feelings that her real self wasanother great one by anne tyler. i could completely relate to rebecca in her search for 'place' in the world, and her feelings that her real self was lost....more
2.5-stars, really. but i can't bring myself to roundup to 3-stars (liked it) because, well, it was only okay. sorry! :/
(and please don't come and hate2.5-stars, really. but i can't bring myself to roundup to 3-stars (liked it) because, well, it was only okay. sorry! :/
(and please don't come and hate on me, david mitchell fans. i really, really like the man.)
so, here's the thing: david mitchell, the man, is someone i like so much. he smart, he's creative, he's thoughtful, and he seems like a kind bloke. david mitchell's writing i like not so much. the bone clocks is my third outing with mitchell (the others being The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet and Cloud Atlas), and this is the third time i have wished i liked a novel so much more than i did.
i have this group of writers i like as people, but can't gel with their writing. mitchell is now solidly in this camp for me. so while i will continue to follow his career and be, generally, impressed by him i probably won't read any more of his stuff. though never say never, right?
not quite halfway through the bone clocks (crispin hershey's bit) there's this passage:
... what they'll read about my comeback novel is: "So why is Echo Must Die such a decomposing hog? One: Hershey is so bent on avoiding cliché that each sentence is as tortured as an American whistleblower. Two: The fantasy subplot clashes so violently with the book's State of the World pretensions, I cannot bear to look. Three: What surer sign is there that the creative aquifers are dry than a writer creating a writer-character?"
while i wouldn't go so far as to call the bone clocks 'decomposing hog' (heh!), the rest of the quote screamed out at me so loudly, it was hard to ignore. was this self-awareness poking through? who knows?
to my reckoning, there are four potentially awesome novels within the bone clocks:
* holly sykes (and ed brubeck) * hugo lamb * crispin hershey * horology, the atemporals, and temporals
each in their own way had so much potential but, for me, as a whole it was just a hot mess. i found it affected. in the first part, i wasn't buying holly's 'voice', it seemed off and wrong and i wasn't convinced by it. as she aged, it got better for me, but by the later stages of the novel i just found all the voices were not distinct enough. i kept wanting to give up on the read... but i kept going because it's david mitchell, you know? (that and because i am stubborn, it's really rare for me to quite on any book. what if the turning point is on the next page? or the page after that? and i give up just a bit too soon??)
i just feel like mitchell was trying to do too much here and it didn't weave together seamlessly. by the time he introduced the issue of racism late in the story, i was so tired. i found it interesting, but man - how many things need to go into a story? and this is another thing - i like the themes and ideas mitchell plays with. he is clearly fascinated by connections and morality in our world and these are very noble ideas to pursue in writing. so that, unfortunately, just adds to my feelings of bummed-ness in not loving mitchell's writing more.
on the plus side, this particular edition: The Bone Clocks: A Novel is beautiful. the cover design is gorgeous, and the quality of the pages is fabulous. it's a weighty tome, though. wow. i did not weigh it, but i have been joking that it clocks in at about 7lbs. so plan your book prop accordingly.
edited to add:
i totally meant to include this aside with my review:
KLEINBURG, ONTARIO?! what the hell, david mitchell?? the fact you used kleinburg, ontario as a minor setting totally threw me for a loop and i found it so distracting!! why? WHY??
for those who don't know: kleinburg is, literally, a one-intersection small town. at the south end, it does have the wonderful mcmichael art gallery - which is an amazing place to visit ,and totally worth an outing if you are in the toronto area. kleinburg also used to have the wonderful Pierre Berton (and i will take any opportunity to share how to roll a joint, with pierre berton). so... was mitchell lucky enough to meet berton before he died? was mitchell at an event at the mcmichael and it just stuck with him? years and years ago, i frequented kleinburg - there was an awesome little shop that had fantastic ice cream. but it's long gone. so mitchell could not have been enticed by the ice cream. so, again i ask, WHY? kleinburg. harrumph. (hahaha!!!)...more