Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Set your Bone Clocks to read o'clock

This doorstop of a book is as difficult to sit down and summarize as it is engrossing and fun to read.  The books spans decades and features no less than five protagonists in six parts that comprise the whole of this story. The story jumps between reality the past, reality in the present, reality in the future, and the metaphysical in each and on its own.  Does that confuse you?  Don’t let it put you off.  It’s a heck of a lot more complex and labyrinthine than I care to sit and have a think about, but  you can - it’s that well wrought structurally- and should you want to go down that rabbit hole, here is an article. Mostly, I loved it because of the characters, who are both hugely likeable and who are so unlikeable that you like not liking them.  Mitchell, despite being a structural master, clearly has fun creating vibrant characters, giving them quirks, writing snarky dialogue for them, and both tearing them down and building them up.  This book is colorful, rich, toothsome, intelligent, and engaging.  It’s a bit like a massive croissant stuffed with nutella and then rolled in nuts and chocolate chips.  (Or if you're me, it's a ham and cheese croissant with mustard and rolled in olives.) Or something.  It’s outwardly appealing and delicious, easy to want to bite into, but inside has complex, delicious layers, and at it’s core is a warming, delectable heart of goodness. Now you want BOTH that croissant AND the Bone Clocks.  Bad news: I made that croissant up; it exists only in my head.  Good news: David Mitchell made the croissant that is Bone Clocks up, so consequently it actually exists outside his head; you can have at.

In 1980’s England, teenage Holly Sykes runs away to strike out on her own after a brush up with her mother.  Despite being a bit of a teenage punk Holly’s not really typical; she heard voices as a child. While roaming the English countryside, the “Radio People” return, and the homecoming is not without fallout, putting Holly decidedly on the outs with them and yet convinced the experience was a bad dream that ended in a worse unsolved mystery upon waking.  Over the years, Holly is part of the lives of the other narrators in this novel that starts in the past, jumps to the present and past, and ends in the future: a Cambridge undergrad best described as a total dick, a war reporter in Iraq, a middle-aged writer with an ego, and an ancient doctor.  All are tied together but their stories are told in unique voices, both likeable and unlikeable, and in vastly  different genres, times, and settings.  This book is recommended for sophisticated readers, older teens (15 and up) and adults.  Those who don’t like science fiction or fantasy will find the reality in the unreality makes for a hugely enjoyable novel!  

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