Jandy's Reviews > The Bone Clocks

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
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bookshelves: fiction, read-in-2014, favorites, five-foot-shelf

This book was basically written for me, for the most part. I zoned away a little during the Crispin Hershey part (which reminded me too much of the grumpy middle-aged white male characters of Richard Ford, who wrote probably the only book I actively hated in grad school), and the last section was a bit of a jump (but was totally worth it in the end), but even with those two niggles, it was far and away the most "me" book I've read for a long while. Yes, even more than The Night Circus, which I read just before this and also loved.

But this, ah. The seemingly normal everyday life, with everyday problems, but with a bit of weirdness along the edges, until the weirdness breaks through and takes over. The little hints that something more is going on just below the surface, if I could just tie everything together. The way when the weirdness finally takes center stage, everything from before just comes crashing in to make perfect and exhilarating sense. The combination of the near past and the near future, and how seamlessly the book transitions between them, from a chronicle of a generation before mine to quiet science fiction. I eat that stuff up.

The only other Mitchell book I've read is Cloud Atlas, and while I appreciated what he was doing with it, I found myself just as frustrated, often, that he wasn't quite going far enough with the conceit. It felt like he came up with the conceit first (to write a chaismic series of texts from different time periods in appropriate styles) and then came up with a story to go along with it. Obviously I don't know if that's how it happened or not, but that's what it felt like reading it. Here, he's still using the structure of multiple discreet sections with different narrators, but it feels much more organic. Here it feels like the story came first and the structure is merely the best way to tell it.
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Reading Progress

August 21, 2014 – Shelved
October 4, 2014 – Started Reading
October 7, 2014 –
page 120
October 10, 2014 –
page 165
October 11, 2014 –
page 230
October 12, 2014 –
page 295
October 16, 2014 –
page 376
October 18, 2014 –
page 397
October 18, 2014 –
page 432
October 19, 2014 –
page 506
October 20, 2014 –
page 548
October 22, 2014 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)

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Jenny Great review, Jandy. I loved the book, too. :)

message 2: by K8 (new) - rated it 3 stars

K8 The Hershey part is where I started to lose interest, too. I read an interview with him where he described the book as actually being 4 novellas stitched together, which, in retrospect, makes sense.

message 3: by Jandy (new) - added it

Jandy Yeah, each section kind of works on its own, but the thread of atemporality woven throughout made them work well together, too.

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