Review: The Bone Clocks – David Mitchell

by jayneclaire

It’s been about fifteen years since I last even attempted to write a review of a book that I had read. At least at school, it was pretty much out of public domain. Never to be commented on, only marked by a teacher. The most it would be seen would be if it was put up on the wall of the classroom. Along with thirty other reviews of the same book by my peers. Not quite as open as putting it up on a blog. Good job very few people will find it here. Although, having my review surrounded by other people’s of the same material is pretty much the same as Amazon or Goodreads, I guess.

The only reason I even picked up this book was due to the sheer fact that I feel I do not read enough serious material. Books enrich a persons growth by so much. Yet, reading too much of the same is much like eating the same foods each day. You’re never really going to get the amount of nourishment you’d get from a varied diet, no matter how healthy the food. Basically, I’ve been reading too much ‘Victoria sponge cake washed down with pink lemonade’. It’s all lovely but sooner or later, it’s going to bloat. By comparison, ‘The Bone Clocks’ feels very much like triple cooked chips in a gastro-pub. It’s serious and dark, but delicious. And it probably comes with a jus of some sort.

It’s taken me a month to read it. But I would say it’s certainly a book you won’t want to put down. Sure, I had to but I still came back to it. Determined to make sense of what was written in its pages. Because sometimes, it just blew my mind.

The fact that the protagonist falls in and out of the story yet also weaves all the characters and plot together is marvellous. At certain points I became unsure of who the story was truly about. There are so many different characters, after all. Which challenged me and I’ll come to that later. The linking of characters who seem so far apart in class and political minds, it just wonderful. I found myself a lot of the time thinking ‘where the hell is this going? Where are we going to end up?’ And it was not the desolate lands described, that I expected. Not at all. The last part of the book, is pretty bleak.

I can’t gush about everything. Mitchell uses so much description, that I began to feel trapped in a labyrinth of words. Not all of it felt relevant either. But some like that. I can honestly say, I didn’t. I’ve forgotten most of it already. With the amount of characters to focus on in a scene, it really did not help.

The ease in which Mitchell felt he could just kill a character off was disturbing and disappointing. Plucking them from the page and dropping them from a thousand feet. Sometimes literally. I felt as though he’d forgotten that these characters meant something not only to the other characters, but to the reader. Maybe I just don’t handle fictional grief well.

The Bone Clocks, barks of humour at times and this helps to give it a lighter breath. From what is certainly a dark story, again with the very political and probably future, at the end of the story. At times, it’s quite hard to keep a count of every character that is possibly in a scene. I found myself going over their descriptions and trying to work out again and again, if they were good or evil. You can see why I stick to simpler stories.

Of course, it is blatantly obvious why Mitchell is an International Best Seller and he really doesn’t need me to big him up. Especially in my lack of experience as a writer. He almost pokes fun at the whole profession in Crispin Hershey. A move I felt was pretty brave.

The gem of the story is that Mitchell has taken something so human in those times of memory blanks that we all have, and turned it into something that verges on magical and it’s so believable, too. We know so little about our world and The Bone Clocks opens up a whole ideology about what could be in store for the human race and what could be all around us presently.

Do I feel I made the right choice in choosing this book to grow my literary knowledge? I hope so. I got to the end, so that’s something.