‘The Bone Clocks’ Review

To many readers, David Mitchell is no stranger. He has authored numerous books that have captivated audiences across the globe. It is therefore little wonder that The Bone Clocks, one of his latest creation has been greeted with such anticipation and excitement. Mitchell manages to assure readers that their trust and confidence in him is well placed. Combining multiple perspectives with inspired storytelling, he shows why he remains the king of fiction.

The Bone Clocks Synopsis

As is the case with most of his other works, Mitchell structures The Bone Clocks into multiple chapters. In each chapter, he focuses on a particular component of the book’s main character, Holly. The book is primarily set in 1984 Kent, England. Here, Mitchell leads readers through the experiences of Holly, a stubborn and rebellious teenager. Special attention is given to Holly’s discovery of her boyfriend’s unfaithfulness and her decision to flee from her home. Mitchell places Holly in charge of telling her own stories. This is an effective technique as readers are able to get an inside look into the mind of a teenager.

While Holly’s experiences form the focus of The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell, the author still manages to introduce other characters into the narrative. He does this by allowing these characters to replace Holly in narrating her struggles. For example, Hugo Lamb, one of Holly’s love interests is assigned the job of telling readers about Holly’s life and his interactions with her. Crispin Hershey, a man experiencing career decline also joins Lamb in speaking about Holly. The use of different voices helps to add depth to what would otherwise be a linear and boring novel.

Readers should brace for confusion. As can be seen in some of his other creations, he adopts a rather complex style that some readers may find to be inappropriate and ineffective. However, most readers will agree with Mitchell that his style helps to elevate his storytelling. In the fifth chapter of the book, Mitchell abandons the approach that he uses in the previous chapters. Here, even as the book makes some mention of Holly’s life, attention shifts to a different universe inhabited by immortals. Again, those wishing to read the book should expect this book to leave them feeling confused and even dazed. 

Why readers struggle to put the book down

It is difficult to find flaws in The Bone Clocks. This is not to say that the novel has no shortcomings. Mitchell’s storytelling is so excellent that it distracts from the few mistakes and limitations. One of the many strengths that readers will notice is that the book is vastly different from any that they have read. As opposed to other books which are rather predictable and lack courage, Mitchell’s book is bold and distinct. This boldness can particularly be seen in the structure. Mitchell took a serious risk when he decided to adopt the structure that the book uses.

The fact that he creates room for multiple voices is another issue that helps Mitchell to win over readers who may struggle to accept his work. Apart from Holly, the books main character, The Bone Clocks also allocates sufficient space to other characters who guide readers through Holly’s experiences while providing readers with first-row seats into deeply personal performances. Readers are particularly likely to be drawn to Hershey as his hardships echo those of readers who have also struggled with job insecurity and financial challenges.

How Mitchell introduces supernatural elements into the book without damaging its relatability and reality is another reason why this book is nearly impossible to put down. Usually, fiction writers go too far by conjuring characters and events that are simply unreal. Mitchell is different. He exercises tremendous restraint in ensuring that the narratives, developments, and events as well as the characters in the novel echo the actual human experience. The fact that the book echoes reality certainly makes it relatable.

Mitchell demonstrates that he is not afraid to confront subjects that other writers are either too incompetent or frightened to address. For example, in The Bone Clocks, he explores and develops such themes as the human struggle for self-interest in a world that threatens survival. This theme is indeed weighty and it suggests that Mitchell recognizes that hi fictional works serve purposes that extend beyond entertainment. The Bone Clocks also functions as a platform for engaging readers about serious ethical questions.  

Mitchell knew full well that combining reality with fantasy would upset some of his readers. This must be why he ensured that the real and relatable elements of the book are not overshadowed by the fantasy. The balance between the two styles is indeed remarkably. It highlights Mitchell’s expertise, experience, and enviably innovative spirit. He offers lessons to other writers who seek to make their creations more diverse but are afraid of alienating some of their readers. The Bone Clocks is an ideal case study for innovation and courage in literature.

One could argue that Mitchell is a selfish and self-promoting writer. These traits are evident in the type of characters that he chose to include in The Bone Clocks. Some of these characters are from his earlier works. While it is true that these characters point to Mitchell’s self-promoting tendencies, it should be understood that they also help to breath coherence and unity in the various works. Basically, thanks to these characters, Mitchell is able to lead readers from the universe in one book to that in another. 

Things that David failed to get right

As has been made clear above, The Bone Clocks book possesses so many strengths that other books in the same genre will struggle to compete. However, there are some problems that dent the book’s appeal. One of these problems is that the book is difficult to classify. This difficulty arises from Mitchell’s decision to include elements from both fantasy and reality. There are readers who will certainly complete that the book’s complexity makes it bloated and impossible to take seriously.

Another shortcoming that could see Mitchell lose fans is that The Bone Clocks book is that it is rather outlandish and appears to try too hard. Essentially, it is as though Mitchell feared that his very reputation hinged on the success of this book. To safeguard his image, he decided to throw all he had at his readers. This strategy backfires because it leaves readers feeling overwhelmed and confused. The failure of this approach confirms the commonly held belief that in many cases, less is more. Mitchell should have held back some more. 

To read or not to read? 

At the end of any review, one has to issue a judgment regarding whether the book in question is worth a read. Mitchell’s book is not for everyone. In fact, only a few readers will appreciate it. Mitchell must have known that his book would struggle to find an audience. However, he manages to secure a loyal and enthusiastic audience. The Bone Clocks is exhilarating, tremendously fun and unbelievably engaging. This reviewer strongly encourages those who are yet to read it to do so and prepare to be transported to a different world. 

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