Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Bone Clocks

The Bone Clocks
David Mitchell

Published 2014

First Sentence
"I fling open my bedroom curtains, and there's the thirsty sky and the wide river full of ships and boats and stuff, but I'm already thinking of Vinny's chocolaty eyes, shampoo down Vinny's back, beads of sweat on Vinny's shoulders, and Vinny's sly laugh, and now my heart's going mental and, God, I wish I was waking up at Vinny's place in Peacock Street and not in my stupid bedroom."

Publisher's Description:

Following a scalding row with her mother, fifteen-year-old Holly Sykes slams the door on her old life. But Holly is no typical teenage runaway: a sensitive child once contacted by voices she knew only as “the radio people,” Holly is a lightning rod for psychic phenomena. Now, as she wanders deeper into the English countryside, visions and coincidences reorder her reality until they assume the aura of a nightmare brought to life. 

For Holly has caught the attention of a cabal of dangerous mystics—and their enemies. But her lost weekend is merely the prelude to a shocking disappearance that leaves her family irrevocably scarred. This unsolved mystery will echo through every decade of Holly’s life, affecting all the people Holly loves—even the ones who are not yet born. 

A Cambridge scholarship boy grooming himself for wealth and influence, a conflicted father who feels alive only while reporting from occupied Iraq, a middle-aged writer mourning his exile from the bestseller list—all have a part to play in this surreal, invisible war on the margins of our world. From the medieval Swiss Alps to the nineteenth-century Australian bush, from a hotel in Shanghai to a Manhattan townhouse in the near future, their stories come together in moments of everyday grace and extraordinary wonder.

Dear Reader,

I really wanted to bring you this amazing, enlightened review that broke everything down intelligently... yeah, not going to happen. I think being myself and giving you an Amberific review will have to do. You might be wondering if I liked the book? Well, yes reader... I did. As usual, David Mitchell brings out all his big guns for this novel and you can certainly be prepared to work hard for the reward. The Bone Clocks tells a story of heartbreaking truth, gives you an eerie feeling of impending doom and thoughts on eternal life and human bodies decaying. How can I summarize this book to you?! Each chapter is in a way a novel by itself... not unlike Mitchell's other work. I've heard in some of his interviews that this is because he can't seem to write longer than 100 pages in one place and with one person before he feels the need to move on. Oh, and before I get into the plot... I just need to mention how SMOOTH the pages are, whatever paper they used for this hardcover is divine. I found myself 'feeling up' the book quite a bit during my quiet time.

The Bone Clocks is made up of six parts of roughly 100 pages each. Part one starts the story of Holly Sykes (the ultimate character that underlines every part of the book) and her runaway escapades after having her heart broken by a typical 'first love'. Nothing extremely unexpected or unusual except for a few glimpses into the strange (Holly's brother giving her unclear parting words and happening upon a strange woman who wants 'sanctuary' and finally a showdown of epic weirdness at a stop along the way). One line from this first section really hit home for me, "being born's a hell of a lottery". For some reason that line really stood out for me and helped me connect with Holly Sykes, being the child who sees what could have been when viewing the life of others around her. Who doesn't imagine that every now and then?

After we meet Holly in the first section, we get thrust into the second act that follows Hugo Lamb. This section was a little less exciting for me but still important to the overall plot line. Hugo Lamb crosses paths with Holly, giving us a different perspective on her life. Actually, each part has glimpses of Holly from all different angles, which is super interesting. Moving on, we have two more parts of "normality"... one that follows Ed the war reporting Journalist married to Holly Sykes and Crispin Hershey, a middle-aged Author that bumps into Holly at a book fair. We again get to see Holly in so many ways, through the eyes of a husband and a fellow prize winning Author. Crispin Hershey's section is FILLED with put downs to the literary world and the snobbery surrounding it. This was actually quite enjoyable but also became a little tedious after awhile. I started saying, "I get it! I get it! Enough already!". But still, it was fun to read for a bit. By section five, things start getting REAL strange, we finally see what the heck is going on in the background and things come to a head. I don't want to spoil anything for you, so I won't go any farther. Those sci-fi/funky parts reminded me of L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology, but want to know the funny part? Mitchell predicted that reaction and countered it by actually negating the scientology-ness of the crazy plot line.

Anyways, you'll see for yourself... as for me, I connected with this book more than Cloud Atlas but I can't say I'm a devout Mitchell fan. I'll read his work, he is super talented and I can enjoy the ride he gives us... but I'm not going to break things down and connect all the crazy dots. I know he has recurring characters and he has a plan to connect all his books somehow. Should I follow this giant puzzle down the Mitchell rabbit hole? Maybe, I do like puzzles... but I have a stronger aversion to disappointment, so I won't.

Happy Reading,

The Bone Clocks

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