Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart” as Want to Read:
The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  21,215 ratings  ·  2,322 reviews
Edinburgh, 1874. On the coldest night the world has ever seen, Little Jack is born with a frozen heart and immediately undergoes a life-saving operation. But Dr Madeleine is no conventional medic and surgically implants a cuckoo-clock into his chest. Little Jack grows up different to other children: every day begins with a daily wind-up. At school he is bullied for his 'ti ...more
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published August 6th 2009 by Chatto Windus (first published October 2007)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Fernando G Yo estuve esperando un año para leerlo y tenía grandes expectativas, sin embargo, luego de leerlo me ha decepcionado de gran manera. Su contenido es p…moreYo estuve esperando un año para leerlo y tenía grandes expectativas, sin embargo, luego de leerlo me ha decepcionado de gran manera. Su contenido es pobre, poco coherente con el hilo de la historia, quizá existan dos o tres pasajes que valen la pena, pero definitivamente no es un libro para recomendar. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.61  · 
Rating details
 ·  21,215 ratings  ·  2,322 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart
Mar 27, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: magical-realism
If you're a fan of this book then stop reading now! You won't like what I'm about to say...

Maybe it's the writing or maybe it's the translation but I really did not like the way this book was written. The entire way through it was as though Malzieu was telling me a story instead of showing me one, and that is a writing style which I personally can only ever tolerate in short stories.

The plot felt far too predictable to me; the outcast and the school bully fight over the same beautiful girl. I've
Jo-anne Dulla
Jul 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The title says: The Boy with a Cuckoo-clock Heart.

While I don't speak french much less understand it, I was able to find an english version of this book.

Hurray for translations!

So there I was, on my sickbed, just finished reading a sad book but with a happier ending, thinking on what to do and where to go where my feet can't take me. I was scanning ibooks for a 3rd book to read for the day and stumbled upon "The Boy with a Cuckoo-clock Heart". Now who would not be interested to read it with a ti
Apr 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was the end of summer break and I was coming back from Italy. I had read all the books I had taken with me and didn't have enough time to stop at the bookstore before leaving. I went to a drugstore inside the airport and found this book. I had seen it around a couple of times, and since nothing else called my attention I decided to give it a go. I finished it that day on the plane (it's a rather short novel) and loved it very much. I am thankful that I didn't go to the bookstore that day and ...more
Sam Grove
Mar 08, 2013 rated it did not like it
Very disappointed in this. The premise seemed very intriguing and I'm a sucker for love stories with a bizarre/dark twist to them (think Edward Scissorhands and you'll be on the mark!)
But this, well suffice to say doesn't even come close to Tim Burton's genius.

The reason why this falls so very short is the writing.
One of my pet hates is when writers use that lazy technique of jumping forward in time with no explanation of what happened during the skipped part. Usually it reads 'so and so did
Sep 07, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-reads
This book was okay. Good but not amazing. I liked some parts but overall it wasn't anything special.
Emily Just Emily*~*
Mar 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
I thought this was an incredible love story. First love. Imagine being 14 again and "falling in love" for your first time. Remember? It almost turns into obsession, crossing countries and whatever just to get to be around that person even in it's awkwardness.
Tragic ending.
Fantastic imagery and descriptions.
" destroyed your heart in front of Miss Acacia. You wanted to show her how much you were suffering, and at the same time how much you loved her. It was a rash and desperate act. But you
Born on the coldest day ever recorded, Jack's heart is frozen and replaced with a cuckoo-clock.

Abandoned by his mother and raised by the witch doctor, Dr. Madeleine who installed the clock, Jack is warned that he must never fall in love because it could overwhelm his unusual pacemaker. Jack does well for about ten years, until he meets Miss Acacia, a street performer who wears glasses and has a pretty voice. Jack is in love and sets out to find Miss Acacia.

Thus begins the story of "The Boy With
What a pity! With a different ending this would have gotten four stars. (view spoiler) ...more
I expected that Mathias Malzieu's novel of magical realism, The Boy With the Cuckoo-Clock Heart, would be both quirky and charming, and full of whimsy. It is described as 'a dark and tender fairytale spiced with devilish humour.' I have had the novel on my to-read list for years, and was very excited when my slim hardback copy arrived. However, my overwhelming feeling about the novel is one of disappointment.

The Boy With the Cuckoo-Clock Heart has been translated from its original French by Sara
Jul 06, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book really annoyed me because it could've been quirky and sweet, and there were even some beautiful lines that I could cut out and keep, but the tone kept vacillating and throwing me out of the story. It never quite settled down to being humour, or a fairytale, or a serious work of fantasy, or... anything. I felt jerked around by it and just ended up resentful.

Also, if you read the blurb and think it might be a children's book, it definitely isn't that. It is an adult book, with references
A hurricane in a skirt named Miss Acacia, a pet hamster named Cunnilingus, tiny bottles filled with one's own tears, and a cameo appearance from Jack the Ripper... What's not to like?!

In "The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart," Jack's life depends on a clock installed in his chest. But Jack must be careful, because anger or love will break his fragile heart. Still, he journeys from Edinburgh to Andalusia in search of his beloved Miss Acacia.

Mathias Malzieu paints delightfully gorgeous and grotesq
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una historia hermosa, con un final de vida real; está llena de bellas e ingeniosas metáforas que nos cuentan las búsqueda del amor por parte de Jack.
Muestra ambos extremos del amor: el delirio de la felicidad y las brumosa oscuridad del egoísmo con personajes que se quedan en tu corazón.
A beautiful story, with a real life ending; is full of beautiful and ingenious metaphors that tell us the Jack´s search for love.
It shows both ends of love: the delirium of happiness and the hazy obscurity of se
Dec 31, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'd tell Malzieu to stick to music, but his music is god-awful and pretentious too.

Okay, that's harsh, but seriously. This book has a great premise and is based on a really cute music video. But the book is just plain bad. I read it in French, and then in English thinking I was missing something. I wasn't. The characters are boring, the story is boring. In the hands of someone who could write this might have been a good story. It is full of absolute French storytelling cliches (how many French p
Actual rating 3.5 stars.

This is quite a difficult book for me to rate and review. On the one hand, it was a quirky little fable with an intriguing central concept that had the potential to be both affecting and thought provoking. Some of the writing was beautiful and the story had some really charming moments peppered throughout. And don't even get me started on the cover! I mean, just look at it! However, despite these positive attributes, I can't help feeling that this book never quite lived u
Jul 28, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I wish I could give this book a higher rating but I just can't.

I picked this book up because its premise sounded really intriguing - a tragic story about a boy with a cuckoo-clock heart who is not allowed to fall in love but meets a girl who seems to be the love of his life? Sign me up!

It started out very promising: the writing style was beautiful, a great atmosphere was created and one sympathizes with the characters. But the further I got into the story, the more I got annoyed at the writing
Lauren (Northern Plunder)
My review was first posted on Northern Plunder, you can read more of my reviews there too.

Initially I had mixed feelings on how I felt about this book, but at my book club discussion I found out that it is actually a prequel for a different book that Mathias Malzieu has written and with that knowledge it has helped me realise exactly what I felt was wrong with the book.

Basically I can’t help but comment on how this book was a lovely read and completely well written, almost poetical in some place
Laurie –Read Between The Skylines–
I read this book in french and I really liked it. Mathias Malzieu is so poetic, his words struck me deep down.
"Firstly: don't touch the hands of your cuckoo-clock heart. Secondly: master your anger. Thirdly: never, ever fall in love. For if you do, the hour hand will poke through your skin, your bones will shatter, and your heart will break once more."

I haven't tried in English, but I guess that any translation can't worth the original book, that is why I always enforce myself to read books
Feb 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tim Burton fans
A hurricane in a skirt named Miss Acacia, a pet hamster with a very naughty name, and a cameo appearance by Jack the Ripper make this a memorable book. In Mathias Malzieu's "The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart," Jack's damaged heart functions with the aid of a cuckoo-clock installed in his chest. But Jack must be careful, because anger or love will break the fragile mechanism. In spite of the risk to his life, he journeys from Edinburgh to Andalusia in search of his beloved Miss Acacia.

Malzieu p
Mademoizelleflo (flowlessbooks)
It's a really cute and well written story ( I don't know if this book is published in another language than French, though) !
This book is written with songs lyrics, and the songs actually exists, which is wonderful !
Mathis Malzieu is the leader of a French rock band called dyonisos and he created Jack as a little doppleganger.

Jack is this child which was born during a really cold night. So cold, that his heart stopped beating. Madeleine saved him by creating an artificial heart, made of a clock
Sue Smith
Jun 23, 2012 rated it it was ok
I'm being very generous when I give this 2 stars. I'm going to give it the benefit of the doubt that, because it's a 'translation', something is lost between the original and the translated version. Actually a lot is lost, but that may be neither here nor there. I still think that despite the loss of the subtlety of languages, one still has to have an ability to write in the first place. Mathias Malzieu doesn't have that. A singer he may be. Creative he may be. But a writer he is not. Least ways ...more
DeAnna Rigney
This book screams, “Make a movie out of me Tim Burton!” It is hard to describe, but is basically a fairy tale for grown-ups that doesn’t lose its ability to be imaginative and odd. The story begins on the coldest day of the world in Edinburgh, Scotland. A midwife named Doctor Madeleine has just delivered a baby named Jack. It is so cold when he is born, that his heart freezes. To save him, Madeleine, who is a bit of mad-scientist, grafts a cuckoo-clock to Jack's heart to start it beating. This m ...more
Heather Brush
Oct 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It wasn't easy to read this story, for I have lived it. I adored it and hated it because that's what certain truths do to a person. The book is about love, loving too much, loving just enough, loving with abandon of fear, and what happens when you do. But what happens if you don't?

At times painful to experience, the truths in the text are full of understanding and present themselves with simplicity and a bit of disguise. Oh that we all had a cuckoo bird in our hearts to speak our love for us or
Dec 22, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks
Soporifero. Noioso. Proprio non mi ha detto nulla. Per reggere la lettura me lo sono immaginato come un film di Tim Burton, in stop motion, tipo la sposa cadavere o the nightmare before christmas. Così ha acquisito un altro sapore.
Kelda Giavaras
I didn't dislike this book, but as I was listening to the hypnotic voice of Jim Dale I kept thinking that I would have enjoyed this more if it had been presented as linked Short Stories. I enjoyed the metaphor of a clock representing a heart and not breaking the hands of the clock or not getting your heart broken in love. This might be an interesting readalike for those that liked The Night Circus. ...more
Mar 03, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010

“All love’s pleasures and joys are paid for one day with suffering.” Such is the daunting message conveyed in The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart by Mathias Malzieu. The deceptively whimsical book tells the story of a naïve and starry-eyed boy whose obsession with love breaks his already damaged heart. Rich prose, eccentric characters, and fantasy elements create a stunning presentation for a relatively simple plot. Though the author dazzles the senses wit
Jul 12, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Expectations are funny things. They can influence almost any experience to a large extent – for example, they can make you more or less satisfied with a particular outcome, depending on what you anticipated. This is a major reason why I enter voluntary blackout when I’m waiting for an event, book or film. I don’t want to raise expectations and set myself up for disappointment. I was not tempted as a child to open my Christmas presents early. Santa was safe at our house (well, at least from me).

Roof Beam Reader (Adam)
The Boy With the Cuckoo-Clock Heart by Mathias Malzieu
Final Verdict: 3.5 out of 4.0
YTD: 53

4 – Plot/Story is interesting/believable and impactful

Malzieu’s The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart is a fantastical tale of one boy’s struggle to love “normally” and not “crookedly.” The reader meets the boy, Jack, at birth, where a strange confluence of events results in his infant heart being fused with a cuckoo-clock, in what would be a 19th Century makeshift-pacemaker. We ride along with h
Featuring a chance meeting with Jack the Ripper, a beloved pet hamster named Cunnilingus, and an encounter with Georges Méliès, the quirky filmmaker featured in The Invention of Hugo Cabret, this is an odd, and often NSFW romance that will likely appeal to young adults.

The titular character is named Jack (not related to the aforementioned serial killer) and he survives a traumatic birth only through the mystical efforts of Dr. Madeleine, a highly suspect midwife who delivers the illegitimate ch
Sep 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Light some candles, put some instrumentals in the background and start reading this book and I'm sure that travelling towards its last chapters will make you want to drink a glass of cool wine or a cup of hot chocolate.
As soon as I read the title and saw the cover, I knew something interesting would ensue..and I was right. What a story! A combination of reality and make-belief results into a heart warming/breaking chronicle. This is not just a romantic story, this is the memoir of two people pa
Cloie Rainilla
Oct 02, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody I Know
The movie was a lot better. I hardly recognised anything in this book, it was just so different. Different in a bad way too. Everything about this story made me sad.

Jack was born in Edinburgh, 1874, and with a frozen heart. His mother leaves him and the midwife, Madeleine gives him a cuckoo clock heart so that he can live. He remains there with the woman and she becomes his mother. Madeleine tells Jack three rules, so that he can continue to live with his odd little heart. "FIRSTLY: don’t touch
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Very metaphorical *spoilers* 4 46 Mar 17, 2017 09:10AM  
Un bonne explication sur se devenir adulte 2 13 Mar 19, 2014 07:04AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Alargada Sombra Del Amor La
  • Y por eso rompimos - Episodio 1
  • Donde habitan los ángeles
  • Persona normal
  • El caballero de la armadura oxidada
  • Las batallas en el desierto
  • Por una rosa
  • La niña silencio
  • Blanche Neige
  • Madame Butterfly
  • Ondine
  • Cómplices
  • Todo lo que podríamos haber sido tú y yo si no fuéramos tú y yo
  • Ghostgirl (Ghostgirl, #1)
  • Y colorín colorado este cuento aún no se ha acabado
  • Les amants papillons
See similar books…
Mathias Malzieu est une figure phare du rock français avec le groupe Dionysos, pour lequel il écrit, compose et interprète les chansons. Peu enclin à choisir entre sa vocation de chanteur et celle d’auteur, c’est tout naturellement qu’il décide de mêler les deux. Après un recueil de nouvelles, 38 mini westerns, et un roman, Maintenant qu’il fait tout le temps nuit sur toi, il connait un immense su ...more

Related Articles

If you've got an overflowing Want to Read shelf of books that you keep meaning to get to (one day!), you're in good company. Our company, that...
29 likes · 5 comments
“We love each other like matches in the dark. We don't talk, we catch fire instead ” 188 likes
“love is dangerous for your tiny heart even in your dreams so please dream softly” 114 likes
More quotes…