Saturday, September 13, 2014

Review: "The Bone Clocks" by David Mitchell

No matter what book of his you read, you will always get something completely different when you pick up a David Mitchell book, and reading his latest novel The Bone Clocks, not only does it offer a different experience than Number9dream, Cloud Atlas and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, it is also arguably his best novel to date, bringing all of his wonderful attributes together in an endlessly mesmerizing decade-spanning epic that is filled with equal parts mysticism and human drama. The former is where I think David Mitchell succeeds most. If you read my reviews, you know that I am not a fan of science fiction or fantasy, since I find them too idea-heavy and flat out boring. That is not the case with the kinds of metaphysical details Mitchell puts in his novels, this one in particular. It deals with a complex battle fought between two powerful groups of mystics, and if handled by a lesser author it would have been a mess, but here, Mitchell handles it as well as any writer I have had the pleasure of coming across, with the details of these centuries-old race of people being coming across easily and smoothly without for once sacrificing their intricacies or their importance. This is bolstered by the fact that what surrounds this story are some of the most engaging, hilarious and heartbreaking human stories I have had the pleasure of reading this year. The main thread of this story, which has many that you will be thinking of days after reading, is teenager Holly Sykes, who after a fight with her mom and a betrayal by the man she loves, runs away from her home and into the English countryside, where she finds herself embroiled in a war between two types of mystics when she interacts with an old woman named Esther Little. What we know is that these beings will come later in the novel, but we do know that once they die, there souls are soon transported to another being, with all of their memories intact. Some are thousands of years old. Holly finds herself in someway connected to this after a confrontation with one of the “bad” ones leaves two people she has befriended dead. After this, she goes to work for a farm, only to find out that her much-loved younger brother, Jacko, has gone missing as well. He is never found and through the coming years, Holly’s encounter with Esther becomes a huge catalyst that affects everyone she meets, from a suave, Patrick Bateman-esque school boy in the mountains of Sweden, her husband, who is a war-addicted journalist, and a bitter writer, who commits a heinous act against a colleague. This novel goes to amazing places within its pages, from the shallow sincerity of the literary elite, to the weird underworld of old mystics, to the eventual collapse of the world economy once everyone loses power, it is all astounding, and rendered impeccably by a master stylist. I can say with great confidence, that this is the must-read book of the year, and I suggest you do so soon.

Rating: 5/5

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