One 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 what sort of asylum the woman was seeking.…
The Bone Clocks follows Holly's life: not so far out of the ordinary, yet punctuated by flashes of precognition, visits from people who emerge from thin air, and brief lapses in the laws of reality.
©2014 David Mitchell (P)2014 W F Howes Ltd
"No other British novelist, to my mind, combines such a darkly futuristic intelligence with such polyphonic ease" (Sunday Times)
"Open up Mitchell's head and a whole magical, ecstatic symphony of inventiveness and ideas will fly out as if from a benign and felicitous Pandora's box. Read him." (The Times)
The last ten chapters lets it down. So boring. So long. The earlier chapters covering various Earthlings were wonderful. I looked forward to my daily walk so I could listen to the next part of the book. It held together, was interesting and well written. The last portion of the book had no pace. Impossible to get into. It's rare for the end of the book not to hold the reader engaged. This was it for me.
It is the best four or five things I have ever heard. Six novellas with at least two over arching narratives. Another tour de force in form and execution, rather like the wonderful Cloud Atlas starting in the past and moving through time into the near then distant future.
Each of the episodes was compelling with vivid characters and a gripping story, I was so reluctant to turn it off every day as I got to work and on my return journey home.
Holly is a wonderful character and appears centrally in the first and last episodes. Her journey through a life that could only have been created in David Mitchell's kaleidoscopic imagination, turns her from nieve teenager to wise old woman by utterly believable yet fantastic degrees.
If. I have any criticism it is the problem that arises from Holly's voice, it is so different from reader to reader that it jars. Given the versatility of the readers I suspect that they could have made it a little more consistent had the producers worked at it a little more. That said the first and last episodes are in her voice and the readers do acheive believable continuity we could have done with throughout.
The themes are too numerous to count but I loved the exploration of ageing and the old living in and on and through the young. These themes and others are explored at many levels and through the book's endless layers, and you can enjoy it as just a series of witty gripping stories at the same time.
Don't hesitate it will be some of the best 24 hours of your life! I might be overselling it a bit but as you may have noticed I loved it!
I definitely would, though nothing would be as good as the first time listening. When newly read, you're constantly thinking about what's going to happen next and you'll get lost in all the knooks and crannies.
I can't quite put my finger on it. It was just so immersing. I loved how it was written, this book is so complicated but not once (rare for me) did I get confused.
I really liked that each character had their own narrator, I felt a lot more empathy for each character because of it.
There were so many! The ending was very moving for me but I don't want to give the story away.
If you want a book that's going to pull you in and keep you there then I'd definitely give this a go.
"Rich in invention and wit, another tour de force"
David Mitchell's writing is amongst the very best of his generation and I love it. Those who are already fans should, like me, be delighted. New readers should find Bone Clocks easier to get into than the recently filmed Cloud Atlas. There are nods in this book to Black Swan Green and Thousand Autumns, also warmly recommended, as indeed are all his books in their unabridged forms. The 24+ hours of this audiobook have flown by for me and I have enjoyed all of it. very much
This epic starts in 1984 Kent and some sections/narratives follow the central character of Holly through to a dystopian 2140 Ireland. But Holly is not the only character to be given great depth of personality by the unfolding story. My favourite is perhaps Crispin, whose contribution to this literary roller-coaster ride is so rich in humour that I know I was missing some of it. We learn much about Crispin from his curmudgeonly ways, so the humour has purpose and there are wry observations to enjoy throughout the book.
Each section of the book has a different narrator, which overall works well in differentiating viewpoints as well as the passage of time and place. Quality of the narration is generally very good, though not without some typical errors of emphasis in sight-reading and a couple of excruciating mispronunciations . Frequent audiobook listeners will have learned to deal with such occasional irritations and should not be put off from a thoroughly enjoyable book from a master of his craft.
I loved this book. I am not a particular fan of science fiction type books, and some parts of the book remain a mystery to me, but the characters were so engaging that i could not stop listening. Very well written. Several weeks since I finished the book I am still missing Holly Sykes. As for the 'meaning of 'Bone Clock' - such a clever description, I think that will always stay with me.
"A fascinating blend of styles."
Modern fiction, science fiction and futuristic dystopia. David Mitchell weaves a vast and complex tale held together by strongly drawn individual characters. Each section is told by a different narrator.
The unfolding plot held my attention all the way through, complex but never confusing. I loved the science fiction concept of a hidden war being carried out under our noses.
The narration was mostly excellent, my only criticism was that the narrators didn't keep continuity in the way some characters spoke. Holly Sykes, one of the key characters, is an Essex girl of high intelligence and one of the male narrators makes her sound like an hysterical fishwife, her accent is different with each narrator and her character gets lost in some of the sections because of this.
I didn't manage one sitting but when I found myself at home with a cold I listened to the second half without stopping.
I enjoyed this book greatly. I had a pretty clear idea of what was going on from quite early on but layers of clarity are revealed regularly along the way. The first narrator lost me a bit by misinterpreting sentences and putting emphasis in odd places but she charmed me in the end and I thought it was very well handled over all. One is left bereft each time the story moves to a new narrator's section and continues from a different protagonist's perspective. At first it seems like the new section could never be as interesting as its predecessor but then it grabs your interest and familiar characters pop up (rather than mere echoes of them like in Cloud Atlas) and it really pulls you in. Some people would feel let down that the climax comes in the penultimate section with the final one being more of a "What happened next" but then you don't choose David Mitchell for his straightforward story construction. Full of insight into the world, the human condition and presenting a typically dystopian view of the future; if you like David Mitchell I think you'll be happy.
"Thank Heavens for the fast forward button."
This novel really made me wish David Mitchell had a middle name initial so that he could keep separate the different types of genres he writes, in the way Iain (M) Banks did, using his name with middle initial for his science fiction work, and without for his more straightforward narrative works. For me the novel started very promisingly, and I was looking forward to following the teenage Holly's and other characters' journeys through life, hopefully a roman d'apprentisage with a Mitchell twist, especially with his gift for evoking a sense of time and place, but he lost my interest from the point roughly half way through where it morphed into some really rather badly-written, clichéd good versus evil science fantasy drivel, complete with Darth Vader-ish baddie, and finally into the post-technological, Sino-dominated, dystopian world vision, which has also been done before ad nauseum, and more convincingly and skilfully, by other writers.
It's almost as if he is trying to be a British Haruki Murakami here, with it's colliding real and 'dreamed' worlds, but it doesn't work in my view, and it doesn't always work for Murakami. In an odd way it reminded me of Murakami's 'IQ84' - his flabby, overblown opus.
Mitchell's work does seem to divide opinion quite sharply I notice. I enjoyed 'Number 9 Dream' Immensely: lots of his admirers felt let down by it. I have listened to 'The Thousand Autumns...' three times, yet it too divided opinion. A straightforward historical novel by David Mitchell? How dare he! I wish he would write more of them, frankly.
So, it's a sorry but this one's a dud set of ratings from me on this one, Mr Michell, and for this novel I am very glad of Audible's 'return it and get your credit back' policy.
"A DYING FALL"
The narrative drive is compelling, running through several linked novellas but in the end, telling one story.
iq84 by Haruki Murakami, that similar detached feel- and in the Canadian narrator Laurel Lefkow a very similar voice. Like his own Cloud Atlas, the fractured links of stories drift in and out of the tale.
Perspective. The tales are each told in a different voice so it's only appropriate they're read differently.
The end, which I have problems with on a narrative and plot perspective, is none the less melancholy and moving.
That dying fall... I don't want to spoil the tale and it's revelations but frankly, in the end- what's the point? I was assuming something monumental behind the nature of the Bone Clocks but like Poul Andeson's Boat of A Million Years the creatures out of time are too detached to care about history, or have us care about them.
I love this author's writing and the audio version did him justice ! There has been a lot of orchestrated hype around this book and most of it is well deserved. The six novellas are cleverly (Sorry, how dare I?) interlinked but in number five the whole Cosmology became a bit contrived and/or confused. Number six's dystopian gloom was painfully believable, but marred somewhat by the drumbeats of an atheistic world-view that, perhaps, explains the confused cosmology mentioned above.
I feel churlish at my quibbles, a wonderful book, read it, do.
The wait is over. David Mitchell is back! Please don’t let me spoil it for you, however — I try to be as vague as I can in all that I do but sometimes it’s just not enough. Consider this a friendly warning from your friendly neighborhood Anchorite.
Let’s start with where I stand. I’ve read ”Ghostwritten,” ”Cloud Atlas” and ”The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet,” and while I respect the two earlier works, it is the last mentioned that ticked all the right boxes for me. I’ve written about it here on Audible, so if you like, you can read more of my raves on the dedicated page.
My expectations were, naturally, very high. And, now that I’ve listened to and read the whole thing, I can attest that for me it’s a mixed bag. Closer to ”Ghostwritten” and ”Cloud Atlas” than ”The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet,” on one hand it’s an exuberant and hyperactive narrative ride, a flamboyant explosion of modern cultural reference, a tapestry of metaphysical mystery and larger-than-life climax; on the other, I feel it never achieves the level of the strong gravitational pull ”The Thousand Autumns” has in terms of characterization and actual, pulsating human drama — all this despite the book being actually two books, a story of Holly Sykes’ life told from different angles, the extraordinary in the ordinary, and a fantasy novel with a metaphysical war raging behind the scenes, the ordinary in the extraordinary.
What the book turns out to be is an incalculable tease for the first 400 pages, where the fantasy plot, which does take precedence in ”An Horologist’s Labyrinth,” is merely referred to and glimpsed at once in every fifty pages or so, just enough to make me remember it’s there in the periphery, and wondering why it is. I assume Mitchell’s goals might be elsewhere this time, but I found ”The Thousand Autumns” to be perfectly woven, deeply identifiable story, an intimate portrait, also full of mystery, whereas ”The Bone Clocks” and its apparent siblings are harder to care for, rather inviting from me detached admiration.
Where I found the first four parts hard to get into, but it’s the aforementioned fifth part that’s such a high-intensity display of literary fireworks that it was addictive, finally shifting gear and pushing for the exposition only vaguely hinted at so far.
While it’s a good idea to use multiple narrators to distinguish between the narrative strands, I felt at unease with most of the narrators to the extent that I’d rather switch off the audiobook and continue reading on the iPad (my primary surroundings for listening audiobooks are my daily drives to work and back) while at home, often finishing a chapter on the iPad and then continuing to listen in the car the next morning. What didn’t help was that I had just finished the new Murakami before this, read brilliantly by Michael Fenton Stevens, and was an hour into Dickens’ ”Bleak House,” masterfully read by Sean Barrett and Teresa Gallagher. So the bar was set quite high. I did, on the other hand, wholly enjoy ”Horologist’s Labyrinth,” my favorite in terms of narration, followed by the last part. The rest sounded perhaps a bit too self-conscious to my mind.
I wrote of ”The Thousand Autumns” how ”it’s a joy to see a contemporary writer most certainly not only improving but showcasing such understanding of narrative and language that his work becomes transcendental in how it transports and rewards.” While it will always take time for first impressions to fully sink in, it feels like I’m going to reserve for ”The Bone Clocks” detached admiration: not that it isn’t complex, not that there aren’t remarkably beautifully written passages (The Ásbyrgi episodes are bliss, as well as the Koskov backstory), but I just felt like an outsider gazing in, most of the time. Perhaps you’ll be able to enjoy it more.
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