Dragons & Jetpacks discussion

The Bone Clocks
This topic is about The Bone Clocks
72 views
BotM Discussion - FANTASY > The Bone Clocks/1st Half of the Book Discussion/SPOILERS

Comments Showing 1-46 of 46 (46 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

Ana A (anabana_a) This is for those who want to start discussing even if they haven't finished the book yet. This is from the start until "Crispin Hershey's Lonely Planet: August 20, 2018."

I'm only a few pages into Hershey's part and I find it kind of irritating because I'm not invested in him as a character (yet). I enjoyed Holly's, Anyder's and Ed's parts, and I want more of those.

Although, when reading Ed's part of the book, I found myself thinking "Are these war parts really necessary?" But I like Ed as a character.

For those who've read Cloud Atlas, how do you compare it to this one so far?


Ryan I'm loving all the characters! Hershey is a boob but he is certainly growing. I'm almost finished his bit.

Anyway, I am absolutely loving this book so far. It's better than Cloud Atlas and I gave that four stars. Unless the end sucks this will probably be a five star read for me.


Ana A (anabana_a) Ryan wrote: "I'm loving all the characters! Hershey is a boob but he is certainly growing. I'm almost finished his bit.

Anyway, I am absolutely loving this book so far. It's better than [book:Cloud Atlas|49628..."


That's good to hear that Hershey will become somewhat likeable (?) soon because his part is kind of long.


Ryan Ana A wrote: "That's good to hear that Hershey will become somewhat likeable (?) soon because his part is kind of long."

Mitchell has been calling this his midlife crisis novel. Hershey is a writer suffering a midlife crisis, and who has received criticism for his latest novel, which contains a writer character and some fantasy elements. I doubt Mitchell is much like Hershey but there is a definite self-reference there.


Efrat | 90 comments I am realy struggling to read this...
The character build up is extremely rich, but almost nothing happens.


Ryan How far in are you?


Efrat | 90 comments More then half way through, still with Hershey at August 20, 2018


Ana A (anabana_a) I'm actually starting to like Hershey after he met Holly and Aoife. He seems more human.

In a way, it does kind of feel like nothing's happening. Like there's something about to happen, but before it's explained, the POV chapter ends and we're following a new character several years forward.


message 9: by Wayland, Ernest Scribbler (new) - rated it 2 stars

Wayland Smith | 2861 comments Mod
On page 70 and so far, this really isn't grabbing me at all.


Ana A (anabana_a) Wayland wrote: "On page 70 and so far, this really isn't grabbing me at all."

This is all Holly, right? At this point it felt like a lame YA novel to me, but it changes.


message 11: by Wayland, Ernest Scribbler (new) - rated it 2 stars

Wayland Smith | 2861 comments Mod
Ana A wrote: "Wayland wrote: "On page 70 and so far, this really isn't grabbing me at all."

This is all Holly, right? At this point it felt like a lame YA novel to me, but it changes."


Ya, all Holly. I don't quit on books, especially not on BOTM once I start them, but so far, I'm sort of thinking, "Ok... so?"


message 12: by Ryan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ryan I'm three quarters through and it's awesome. Holly's annoying at first, but she's really grown on me.


Fannie D'Ascola | 412 comments I am at the middle of Hershey's story. This is the one I liked the least so far. I really liked the first one, with young Holly. I hope to read more about the radio people.

I didn't know what to expect with this book at first. It's the first book that I read by Mitchell.


Ana A (anabana_a) Fannie wrote: "I am at the middle of Hershey's story. This is the one I liked the least so far. I really liked the first one, with young Holly. I hope to read more about the radio people.

I didn't know what to e..."


This book actually kept messing up my expectations of it, but I liked it. :)


message 15: by Mark (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mark I've just gotten started with The Bone Clocks. Mitchell has an incredible gift for writing dialogue. I can really hear the character's speaking. I can hear their accents, and I can even hear the characters, in their native accents, imitating other characters' accent. When Holly argues with her mother at the beginning of the book, I can hear Holly, in her English accent, mocking her mother's Irish accent. The use of vernacular and slang is dead-on. I really feel like I'm listening to people speak in London in 198X. So many writers have difficulty reconstructing the vocabulary and speech patterns of even the recent past, but Mitchell nails it.


message 16: by Ryan (last edited Mar 11, 2016 06:27AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ryan I try to read a lot of different authors, and Mitchell's stuff certainly has a brilliance about it.


Fannie D'Ascola | 412 comments This is something I like too. I have some trouble understanding everything but I can't help but hear these accents.


message 18: by Mark (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mark As a (somewhat novice) writer, I can tell you, it takes a keen ear to capture the sound of spoken language the way Mitchell does and parse it back out in writing. It's a difficult mental task. You need a fantastic recall of the sound of voices, not just what people say, and it's harder than you'd think. And to get to the point where you can write accented speech well, you have to train your mind to the point where you can press "play," hear the voices of your character, and just know how to translate it into the written word.


message 19: by Ryan (last edited Mar 11, 2016 07:37AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ryan It's also true that real life speech doesn't make for good dialogue. To work well in print it needs to capture the essence of speech, without reproducing all our ums and ahs and aborted sentences. I find it kind of fascinating actually, how regular speech looks so wrong in print. I used to conduct interviews in a previous job and the transcripts always bothered me. Do people actually talk like that? Yes we do. It just looks terrible. Like Lovecraft dialogue.


message 20: by Lel (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lel (lelspear) | 1800 comments I've just finished Hershey's part and i'm actually really starting to enjoy this book. I'm finding this an easier read than Cloud Atlas. I can see better in the book all the interlinking characters and moments that are making me want to keep reading,

I wont lie though, when I realised it was going to be a chapter per character again (like Cloud Atlas) my heart sank. I found that boo hard to follow and hard to engage in. But as it is book of the month I persevered and found that I dont mind the style too much this time. Has anyone read any other books of his? Are they all the same?

I'm not feeling the same resentment to Hershey that other people seem to be finding. I actually think that I have enjoyed his part the most so far. I think he is a better (morally) character than Hugo. I really didn't like that dude.


message 21: by Wayland, Ernest Scribbler (new) - rated it 2 stars

Wayland Smith | 2861 comments Mod
Ok, I'm officially at the halfway point, which is part way through Hershey's story. I'm really not liking this much. Unless something amazing happens between here and the end, this is my second and last David Mitchell book.


message 22: by Nick (new) - rated it 1 star

Nick | 110 comments I'm with you I think Wayland - i'm about that point now, half way through, and I haven't struggled this much with a book in years. If I didn't want the energy cell for the DC v Marvel challenge, i'd probably have thrown it away by now.

The book just seems to ridiculously dull... worse than that, far more frustrating than that, is that there is a really interesting fantasy story hiding deep beneath the surface. I honestly want to know what's going on with constantine and the carnivores and the war that was going on in the 80's in the first part of the book, but the author (and I can't believe this isn't on purpose) brings us right to the edge of revealing something interesting in each section, then abruptly cuts to the next part years later leaving it unrevealed.

I'm not sure if it's supposed to increase tension, or draw out the mystery, but given that each section starts off (and generally continues for a long while) back in the dull, dreary, let's examine the life of someone unpleasant and unhappy in great detail mode again it's just frustrating.

So far it's grim, depressing, dull and I haven't been so bored by a story since Winton's Cloudstreet, which they forced us to read in school ;)


message 23: by Jenny (new) - added it

Jenny (hbarjac) Like omigawd dude, this book cannot be found like ANYWHERE. Epic disappointment. :-D


message 24: by Nick (new) - rated it 1 star

Nick | 110 comments Really? It's on the kindle store.


message 25: by Jenny (new) - added it

Jenny (hbarjac) Yes, and sorry for the silliness. I can't seem to nail down this acting my age thing.

I am old fashioned and like to read books printed on paper, and while I haven't looked extensively, I figured at least one of the three stores I looked in would have had it. Alas, ear wax. Shall have to order.


message 26: by Nick (new) - rated it 1 star

Nick | 110 comments I was the same for a long time, have some lovely bookshelves packed with rare hardcovers and beautiful books at home (to the point where there is no more space and I have a lot of my old paperbacks in boxes in the basement). Since I started reading on my phone though, the convenience of always having a library of books in my pocket eventually won out. Not to mention being able to grab a copy of a book that sparks my interest moments after hearing about it ;)


message 27: by Wayland, Ernest Scribbler (new) - rated it 2 stars

Wayland Smith | 2861 comments Mod
Jenny wrote: "Yes, and sorry for the silliness. I can't seem to nail down this acting my age thing.

I am old fashioned and like to read books printed on paper, and while I haven't looked extensively, I figured..."


100% with you. I do paper books exclusively. Ereading is just not the same.


message 28: by Rinn, Captain of the SSV Normandy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Rinn (rinnsohma) | 3456 comments Mod
*ignores comments*

I will read this next so I'll be joining in chat soon! Just wanted to say, whilst trying to avoid spoilers...


message 29: by Jenny (new) - added it

Jenny (hbarjac) I admit the having a library in your pocket thing is alluring to say the least... But I like the physical book, pages and smells and flipping back and forth. Zero technical glitches. Maybe that's it, I'm inundated with technology so often, the books are an escape, safe from efrustration.


message 30: by Jenny (new) - added it

Jenny (hbarjac) Also this is an off topic conversation, so maybe reply in the off topic folder? Sorry to have distracted from the book chat.


Fannie D'Ascola | 412 comments Like Nick, I find this book really frustrating. I usually don't mind let things to my imagination, but this book is not just enough interesting to do that.

While I liked most stories, it's just long to get to a good plot and not a lot is revealed.


message 32: by Nick (new) - rated it 1 star

Nick | 110 comments Fannie wrote: "Like Nick, I find this book really frustrating. I usually don't mind let things to my imagination, but this book is not just enough interesting to do that.

While I liked most stories, it's just lo..."


I finished it eventually, but it was a struggle and if it was not BoTM I likely wouldn't have bothered. There are a few good parts ahead, the big reveals about the secret war aren't bad, but even those parts tend to be interspersed with more of the dull dull dull.

Also, continues on for a whole other section, quite gratuitously, after that thread is sewn up ;)


Vinca Russell (vinxlady) | 1289 comments Finally managed to get started on The Bone Clocks this weekend. I enjoyed Cloud Atlas (though thought the nested stories was a bit gimmicky and didn't add a lot) and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet so was looking forward to getting stuck into another of Mitchell's books. For the first few pages I thought I wasn't going to get on with this one, but that's really all it was, a few pages. There's something about his writing style that I really enjoy, even when the book isn't on a topic that I think I'll be interested in.

I guess it was a little disorienting when the viewpoint changed from Holly to Hugo, and I'm still waiting to see how the two parts fit together (they've met and seem to be getting on well, but the peculiar people haven't really come up between them yet). However, I'm in no rush for it to all slot into place, I'm enjoying the meander through various lives and figure it'll all sort itself out eventually!

Anyway, I'm about 180 or so pages in just now, so will come back to this thread once I'm in less dangers of picking up spoilers :-)


Susie  (susiend104) | 265 comments I know that a bunch of people have finished already, but I'm nearly a quarter of the way in, and I have to say I'm struggling! It's interesting how some books can be so divisive - you love them or you hate them. This is my first time reading Mitchell, and I just don't think his style is for me.

I've gotten through young Holly and a ways into Hugo, and they both come off as such predictable stereotypes, and I don't much like either of them. Then Mitchell does something entirely unpredictable with the surreal side of the story, and I'm intrigued. However, it's SO long! There's a good deal of babbling before I'm interested again. Thus, my struggle. I rarely ever DNF a book and want to see how it plays out, but I can't get excited about this.


Shawnie | 1736 comments Susie wrote: "I know that a bunch of people have finished already, but I'm nearly a quarter of the way in, and I have to say I'm struggling! It's interesting how some books can be so divisive - you love them or ..."

I'm having a similar struggle, Susie. It's taking me a long bit to get into each character. Once I finally click with them, we're on to someone new and hard to like. I'll continue on because it's a BOTM.


message 36: by Wayland, Ernest Scribbler (new) - rated it 2 stars

Wayland Smith | 2861 comments Mod
I admit I may be biased, since I didn't like this book, but I can't recall a BOTM with this many "I didn't/don't like it" responses. Between this and Cloud Atlas, I'm done with Mitchell.


message 37: by Paul, A wanderer in unknown realms (new)

Paul | 3524 comments Mod
Didnt like Mitchells previous work so didnt want to read this one. I tend to dread the so called Literary scifi stuff winning BOTM as they tend to be enjoyed by a lot less people


Shawnie | 1736 comments I was surprised to see this shelved in Fiction at B&N.


Susie  (susiend104) | 265 comments It's funny, because this actually seems like the type of book I would normally like. I do want to get through it, perhaps it will grow on me...

Shawnie, I found a lot of books I wouldn't have expected in Fiction at B&N when I was browsing the other day! Not always sure how they make those calls.


message 40: by Wayland, Ernest Scribbler (new) - rated it 2 stars

Wayland Smith | 2861 comments Mod
Borders had people who liked books. In my experience, Barnes and Nobles have people who happen to work in a book store. BIG difference. Just my opinion.


Shawnie | 1736 comments I miss Borders.


message 42: by Veronica (last edited Mar 23, 2016 07:18AM) (new)

Veronica  (readingonthefly) | 803 comments Wayland wrote: "I admit I may be biased, since I didn't like this book, but I can't recall a BOTM with this many "I didn't/don't like it" responses. Between this and Cloud Atlas, I'm done with Mitchell."

I know several people outside this group who read this book and didn't care for it. I've been monitoring this thread to get a sense of people's reactions to see if maybe I should still give it a try. Based on the majority of lukewarm responses I'm going to give it a pass. Nothing will dampen my love of reading more than trying to force myself through a book I don't like.


Shawnie | 1736 comments To be fair, on the other thread, there are many who gave it 3 and 4 stars. :)


Sarah (sarahcd89) | 39 comments I'm nowhere near finished, (Only just started Hugo) but I have noticed that David Mitchell does tend to be pretty polarizing. I also read Cloud Atlas and generally enjoyed it. Reading the phonetic speech from the future dude did give me a headache. The only author that strikes me as even more hit or miss is Gene Wolfe.

This book thus far I keep finding myself being like "what the hell is happening" but still being engaged with the story itself and wanting to know how weird piranha mouth dude plays out.


message 45: by Lel (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lel (lelspear) | 1800 comments Veronica wrote: "I know several people outside this group who read this book and didn't care for it. I've been monitoring this thread to get a sense of people's reactions to see if maybe I should still give it a try. Based on the majority of lukewarm responses I'm going to give it a pass. Nothing will dampen my love of reading more than trying to force myself through a book I don't like. ."

I didn't like Cloud Atlas at all but didn't mind this one in the end. I wont say that I loved it or that I would read it again but it was all right (not a glowing reference I know). I think its worth a go but if you get a quarter of the way through and hate it then stop,


message 46: by Robin P (last edited Mar 25, 2016 07:06PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Robin P I liked Cloud Atlas more than this one because I'm a former literature major and I liked how he played around with styles of writing, as well as having a theme that carried through. I wasn't as fond of this book, as the juxtaposition of normal and paranormal came across as weird. It gets weirder as you go on.

A Mitchell book I really like is Black Swan Green, a largely autobiographical novel about an English teenage boy in the 1980's who stutters (which Mitchell did) and wants to be a writer. Being Mitchell, even in this prosaic setting, he introduces some fantastic elements, but I think it works really well. It's more upbeat than most of his other work.


back to top