The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

I can’t even begin to describe how much I loved The Bone Clocks. I feel like I had some sort of revelatory experience while listening to it – an insight on what truly good fantasy fiction can be. I can’t even recall why it won the ‘eeny meeny miny mo’ of which Audible download to listen to next, but from the moment I started listening I was hooked.

I read Slade House by David Mitchell last year, and even named it among my favourite reads of 2016. At the time of reading, I hadn’t realised it was a sequel/companion piece to The Bone Clocks, and now I’m excited to re-read it at some point in the future, with all the extra insight and backstory gleaned from The Bone Clocks.

At its heart, The Bone Clocks is the story of Holly Sykes, who we follow from the teenage woe of being dumped by her first boyfriend, all the way through to old age in a dystopian future. The novel isn’t always told through Holly’s eyes – we meet a na’er-do-well lover in the Swiss Alps, a war reporter husband whose heart is torn between home and the frontline, and a friend and aging writer whose closet contains darker skeletons than most. And then there’s Marinus. Marinus the atemporal, immortal Horologist, who is reborn into a new body of the opposite gender 49 days after every death. As you absolutely do.

Mitchell constructs such elaborate world-building, with intricate rules and details that make both no sense and absolute sense. And yet all of this is contained to the final section of the novel, with only peripheral glimpses of psychic phenomenon around the fringes of other sections. It worked for me, absolutely and wholeheartedly. I’d happily read hundreds of other books set in this universe, and I think both Marinus and Holly are characters who’ll be with me for a long time.

Additional commendation to the excellent narrative cast: Jessica Ball, Leon Williams, Colin Mace, Steven Crossley, Laurel Lefkow, and Anna Bentinck. Thank you for accompanying me on my travels.

[Read from 20-27 June 2017]

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