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The Bone Clocks

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  56,618 Ratings  ·  7,708 Reviews
One drowsy summer's day in 1984, teenage runaway Holly Sykes encounters a strange woman who offers a small kindness in exchange for 'asylum'. Decades will pass before Holly understands exactly what sort of asylum the woman was seeking...

The Bone Clocks follows the twists and turns of Holly's life from a scarred adolescence in Gravesend to old age on Ireland's Atlantic coas
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Hardcover, 595 pages
Published September 2nd 2014 by Sceptre
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Brian Gore You may not need to read them, but I suspect afterwards you will want to read them. The characters and stories stand alone, but the superb writing and…moreYou may not need to read them, but I suspect afterwards you will want to read them. The characters and stories stand alone, but the superb writing and interesting worlds persist. (less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Dot Although many of Mitchell's characters appear in multiple books, not everyone appears in The Bone Clocks. This article has a (possibly incomplete?)…moreAlthough many of Mitchell's characters appear in multiple books, not everyone appears in The Bone Clocks. This article has a (possibly incomplete?) chart showing which characters reappear in which titles.

http://www.vulture.com/2014/08/david-...(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Stephen M
[UPDATE 10.16]

Here is the review that this book deserves: please read this and not mine. My review is not worth reading.

-----------------------------------

I'm such a drama queen.

This is all planned out: I imagined a ceremonious return to goodreads, where I shock the masses with a derisive and scathing critique of one of my favorite authors, and the goodreads community would all be astir. "What happened to him?" "Didn't he just love David Mitchell?" "He wouldn't shut up about him!" And then t
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Melanie
Sep 26, 2014 Melanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Dear James Wood,

We read and love writers for very different reasons. I read Albert Camus and I read Jorge Luis Borges. I read Milan Kundera and I read Malcolm Lowry. I read Richard Ford and I read Doris Lessing. I read Lawrence Durrell and I read Saul Bellow. I read Samuel Beckett and I read Jim Harrison. I read Emily Bronte and I read Michel Tournier.

David Mitchell's dazzling gifts are not those of Karl Ove Knausgaard, yet I need them equally in the fabric of my life. They bring different qual
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Nataliya
Oct 19, 2014 Nataliya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-reads
“For one voyage to begin, another voyage must come to an end, sort of.”
Your déjà-vu is real (or maybe you're a Prescient). Yes, you've seen something of this sort before. Six interconnected stories told in the first person, combined to create a novel, radiating like raindrop rings on water - or maybe the walls of a concentric maze leading to the elusive center - from a central overarching theme. You've seen it from David Mitchell not that long ago, in the hit-smash-success Cloud Atlas. You'll
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Debbie "DJ"
Apr 01, 2015 Debbie "DJ" rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
For many, David Mitchell seems to be an untouchable. However, this was my first book written by this author. I read it based on the rave reviews I saw, but found it as close to unreadable as any I've come across.

The first chapter is by far the best of the book, after this, the author goes off on tangents using language, terms, and words that were completely foreign to me.

The story is all over the place and I was completely lost regarding character progression, relationships, and the overall stor
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Cecily
This is a detailed summary of key features of the book. I’ve hidden big spoilers, but there may be minor ones, depending on your definition of “spoiler”.

I have a briefer, spoiler-free, and very different, review here (different * rating, too): https://www.goodreads.com/review/show..., which is more about my feelings for the book. It also includes a selection of favourite quotes and links to interviews. The difference in star rating is deliberate: I couldn't decide.

LINKS AND THEMES

This book, per
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Ian Vinogradus
The Confused and the Bewitched
[Apologies to Dean Wareham]


The bone clocks
Sit clutching
Champagne and
Barbecue,
Divided
Betwixt the
Confused and
The bewitched.


"Being For The Benefit Of Holly Sykes!"
[Apologies to the Beatles]


For the benefit
Of Holly Sykes,
There will be
A show tonight
With clowns
On bikes
And acrobats
On trampolines.
If you don’t like
The daring scenes,
Call for
The author
To be sacked.
You’ll get your
Money back.
It’s just a circus act!


description

"Jacob's Ladder" by William Blake


Dwelling on a Reservation

David
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switterbug (Betsey)
Jul 30, 2014 switterbug (Betsey) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
"True metamorphosis doesn't come with flowcharts."

Another genre-bending novel by David Mitchell also channels Stephen King and Carlos Ruiz Zafón. Did you just hear that? Yes, but Mitchell does nothing by mistake. It was evidently deliberate, and he mixes various castes of writing styles, although much less so than in CLOUD ATLAS and even THE THOUSAND AUTUMNS OF JACOB DE ZOET. Mitchell lures in mainstream readers, as well as his steadfast fans. I think he does one better, though, than the latter
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s.penkevich
--Slightly improved version 10/31/2014--

With his newest effort, 2014's Bone Clocks, David Mitchell returns to form found in his earlier novels such as Ghostwritten and Cloud Atlas with a wide-ranging epic spanning across multiple narrators and continents with aims at a universal message about power and the battle of good versus evil. Like Cloud Atlas, his newest effort harnesses various genres of fiction into a larger mosaic work that highlights the interconnectivity of humanity and the versatil
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Greg
Aug 21, 2014 Greg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Fans of David Mitchell who can remember simple things like characters’ names will enjoy the callbacks to his earlier novels. Those who can’t remember shit might find themselves like me doing a lot of Wikipedia plot summary searches to see if they are missing any little surprises for each character that passes through The Bone Clocks.

I don’t think that it’s important to have read all of Mitchell’s earlier books to enjoy this one. And I don’t think I’m saying that just to make myself feel better
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Forrest
I once wrote a novel like this.

My agent wisely advised me to split it up into two novellas.

I did.

I wish Mitchell's agent had given the same advice.

He or she didn't.

Too bad.

It's a tempting trap, this splicing together of novellas. I know, I've been caught in it myself. It makes the writer's job much easier. And it's clever, to boot. In the case of The Bone Clocks, however, this strategy backfired, creating a novel divided against itself.

I'll spare you the plot overview for three reasons: 1) othe
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Tyler Goodson
May 12, 2014 Tyler Goodson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
By the middle of the first sentence, I knew I was in for it. By the end of the first sentence I loved Holly Sykes, and would follow her anywhere. I got to follow her everywhere. With The Bone Clocks we'll remember why we already love David Mitchell, and be amazed that he could top himself again. I'm increasingly convinced that, like some of his characters, he too has lived many different lives. I don't know how one person could equally portray the variety of people, places, and times he does, bu ...more
Cecily
I read this, couldn't decide whether it was 2* or 4*, and knew it would take a while to digest it properly and write a full review. So I decided to do two: this is the short, spoiler-free, initial thoughts one. The much longer, and very different, one is here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... (it has spoilers, but they're hidden).

Two reviews allows two ratings, but by the time I'd finished this, I realised even with its faults, it's not 2*, so it will be 3* and 4* from me.

Narrative Str
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Darwin8u
Feb 21, 2016 Darwin8u rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
“Love's pure free joy when it works, but when it goes bad you pay for the good hours at loan-shark prices.”
― David Mitchell, The Bone Clocks

description

It is hard to not like David Mitchell. He is literary, just not too literary. He is funky, just not too funky. He is hip, just not too hip. He is political, just not too political. He is spiritual, but also seems to leave room for a bit of humanist doubt. I can't think of another writer who captures the energy or direction of the slick, urban, cosmopolitan,
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Reading Corner
Mar 20, 2016 Reading Corner rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf
I couldn't finish this book, I struggled to even get to 300 pages, it's horribly boring.The opening chapter is fantastic and I thoroughly enjoyed Holly's perspective but things really go downhill after that.The book follows Holly Sykes' life through other people who meet her as she ages.Holly Sykes has a strange connection with an outside influence which is a mystery to her and the reader.

After Holly's opening chapter, the narrative switches to Hugo who was an absolute pain to read,it's depressi
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Julie
“My hero is a Cambridge student called Richard Cheeseman, working on a novel about a Cambridge student called Richard Cheeseman, working on a novel about a Cambridge student called Richard Cheeseman. No one’s ever tried anything like it.”
“Cool,” says Johnny Penhaligon. “That’s sounds like—“
“A frothy pint of piss,” I announce, and Cheeseman looks at me with death in his eyes until I add, “is what’s in my bladder right now. The book sounds incredible, Richard."


How can a novel so replete with cynic
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Ian Vinogradus
Meanwhile...at the Frankfurt Book Fair 8 to 12 October, 2014

description

David Mitchell caught trying to sneak into the Frankfurt Book Fair for free. Why would he even try?


David:

[On the red carpet outside the auditorium]

Haruki, would you mind autographing my book for me?

Haruki:

[Looks only briefly at the book, before opening it to the title page]

Hey, this isn't my book! What's going on?

David:

It's my book. I told you it was my book.

Haruki:

[Recognising David Mitchell]

But you keep plagiarising my novels.

David
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Brad
Jun 07, 2016 Brad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, mindfuq
Some of these books of David Mitchell are odd and some of them feel almost epic, while still others are just shocking by how much strong voice coming through the page, and some have it all. This is one of those books, the closest novel to Cloud Atlas out of all the books of his that I've read.

It shares the same basic concept of loosely-tied novellas with strange immortal creatures either living their lives among the humans or actively engaging in a far-ranging and explosive war with others a bit
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Ron Charles
Anticipation started pooling around David Mitchell’s magical new novel as soon as the title was revealed last year. Like Thomas Pynchon and Haruki Murakami — to whom he’s often compared — Mitchell excites his culty fan base into fits of rapture. One bookseller told me that a customer offered money to be allowed to sit in the store and read an advance copy of “The Bone Clocks.” Named a finalist for the Booker Prize more than a month before publication, the novel has finally descended incarnate fr ...more
Chad
Sep 16, 2014 Chad rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I adore David Mitchell. To pieces. No novel has simultaneously so moved and impressed and entertained me as has Cloud Atlas, and I will always be an enthusiastic Mitchell devotee / groupie / fan-girl.

But did I adore The Bone Clocks?

With great disappointment, I must confess that I did not (notwithstanding the fact that I devoured the novel over the course of just three of four days).

The Bone Clocks is fantastical dreck camouflaged as literature. Don't get me wrong: I have nothing against fantasy
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Jenny (Reading Envy)
Dec 27, 2014 Jenny (Reading Envy) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jenny (Reading Envy) by: David Mitchell
I forced myself not to read more than 100 pages a day so I wouldn't finish this book too quickly. I was happy to see David Mitchell going back to the threaded storylines and fantastical diversions that I loved so much with Cloud Atlas after the historical fiction turn he took in The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet.

The hardback has a beautiful color and silky pages. :)

I'm putting all my thoughts behind a spoiler, in case details ruin your enjoyment of discovery. (view spoiler)
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Steve
Mar 25, 2015 Steve rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fans of Mitch Davies had high hopes for this one, but I think it’s fair to say that reactions have been mixed. Of course, with the critical success of Mapping Thunderheads and Davies’ reputation for inventive structuring, this long-awaited release was meant to solidify his status as a literary virtuoso. My own feeling is he fell short of the mark, though with strong work that at times brought him close. As I was tallying my pluses and minuses, I made the mistake of looking at the many excellent ...more
Michael
I loved this one for its pervasive sense of play and its weaving of voices across time. Unlike the centuries spanned by “Cloud Atlas”, this one is grounded to the life arc of one Holly Sykes and it doesn’t wind backward. And it’s a lovely arc and a brave one too. Some early paranormal experiences lead her to grasp beyond an ordinary life to find answers, and the answers she gets forces her by the end of the book to take sides in a war between immortals.

That scope you need to know, as the late b
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Emily
Let's get the most important thing out of the way first: Jessica and Cynthia got a copy of this book for me at BEA, and David Mitchell signed it!!! DAVID MITCHELL KNOWS MY NAME Y'ALL. (And there's a heart too!!!). Under the spoiler tag:

(view spoiler)

I really liked The Bone Clocks, an
...more
Scarlet

I once read, in a friend's review of Cloud Atlas, that David Mitchell is a writer who loves to show off. I understand that statement now.

In terms of plot, The Bone Clocks is a pure fantasy novel, with its own factions of heroes and villains from a different realm locked in a centuries-old battle, complete with made-up words and psychic phenomena. Yet the novel is structured in a way that is completely anti-fantasy; like Mitchell deliberately wants to impede your understanding of his book. So whe
...more
Jan
Nov 21, 2015 Jan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

What a journey this book took me on! Some of it was glorious and will leave lasting memories of images and characters so real I feel like I can call them a friend. But other parts were much more forgettable, with scenes and stories that seemed to muddy the waters versus enhance them.

This is my second read of author David Mitchell. I started out with Slade House, which I found out after actually takes place in the same time frame and with some of the same characters as TBC. I think I'm g
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·Karen·
The more thoughtful review

Step aboard this wild fairground ride at your peril: it is impossible to step off again until the music stops and it spits you out, senses reeling and feet barely touching the ground. Now that I have had a little time to mull it over - we like a nice mull - I shall continue my conversation with the eminent critic of the New Yorker, James Wood. I should point out that Mr. Wood doesn't listen to me, or ever answer, but I'm used to that, I'm married after all.

In his review
...more
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Here's the second DNF for this week (I checked these books out from the library so my motivation to finish them is maybe not the highest, with several other books waiting on the shelf).

So here's the deal with The Bone Clocks: It's well written, and I could have kept plugging away at it. Maybe I would have liked it in the end, but it felt like a chore to me. I wasn't terribly interested in what was happening in the story, and I didn't care about the characters in the slightest. The thought of try
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Dianne
Oct 18, 2014 Dianne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-of-2014
“The Bone Clocks” is a mixed genre of literary fiction and fantasy and is divided into six chapters that span six decades. The first chapter is set in 1984 and the main character is a fifteen-year-old British girl, Holly Sykes. Holly hears inner voices and has strange dreams and visions. She is the common thread that connects all the chapters that follow. Each chapter focuses on a different main character that is somehow connected to Holly. The characters are brilliantly written – Mitchell is a ...more
·Karen·
Local News

The mystery surrounding an unidentified middle-aged woman found wandering the streets of Krefeld in a state of confusion has been solved. After police published photographs of the unknown person, appealing for help in her identification, several people came forward with the information that it was Karen M., a long-term British resident of Krefeld, known to them as a teacher of English. This helped to explain why, when she was found, she was babbling incoherently in English.
Frau M. had
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♛Tash
*Review with spoilers*

The Bone Clocks was vehemently recommended by a friend, who is an unabashed David Mitchell fan boy, actually, he didn’t recommend a book so much as the author. I was very wary of picking up a David Mitchell novel because I didn’t like Cloud Atlas, the movie, at all. I thought it was very confusing, what with the shifting POVs and timelines, but you know what they say right, never judge a book by its movie. So, I asked my friend if he can recommend a David Mitchell book that

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David Mitchell was born in Southport, Merseyside, in England, raised in Malvern, Worcestershire, and educated at the University of Kent, studying for a degree in English and American Literature followed by an M.A. in Comparative Literature. He lived for a year in Sicily, then moved to Hiroshima, Japan, where he taught English to technical students for eight years, before returning to England. Afte ...more
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“Being born's a hell of a lottery.” 91 likes
“I put my hand on the altar rail. 'What if ... what if Heaven is real, but only in moments? Like a glass of water on a hot day when you're dying of thirst, or when someone's nice to you for no reason, or ...' Mam's pancakes with Toblerone sauce; Dad dashing up from the bar just to tell me, 'Sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite'; or Jacko and Sharon singing 'For She's A Squishy Marshmallow' instead of 'For She's A Jolly Good Fellow' every single birthday and wetting themselves even though it's not at all funny; and Brendan giving his old record player to me instead of one of his mates. 'S'pose Heaven's not like a painting that's just hanging there for ever, but more like ... Like the best song anyone ever wrote, but a song you only catch in snatches, while you're alive, from passing cars, or ... upstairs windows when you're lost ...” 79 likes
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