The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

I just finished the Bone Clocks by David Mitchell. It was amazing, and these are some thoughts. 

Ostensibly this is about Holly Sykes. When the book starts, in 1984, Holly is 16 and lives with her family in Gravesend. She runs away one day because she’s angry with her mother, and she goes to this farm to pick strawberries for the summer. On the way she runs into a young couple, who give her some food and kindness. They are brutally murdered, and then Holly is asked by an old woman named Esther Little, for asylum. Holly grants her asylum, Esther goes into her brain, basically, and Holly forgets what happened. The rest of the book is made up of stories set later in Holly’s life, like in 1991, 2005 and so on, and it’s told from the perspectives of people Holly runs into, or is connected to.

So as I said Holly experiences a murder when she’s about 16, but then has her memory redacted. Until Holly was about 8 years old she heard voices, she called them the Radio People. It turns out that these Radio People are a race of people who are basically immortal through nefarious means, and they are at war with other immortals, who aren’t as carnivorous, and Holly is sort of in the center of their war.

I really, really loved it. In the beginning it was a bit confusing, because you don’t really get the whole time people war aspect until you’ve read about 300-400 pages. The first stories are basically just about Holly and these people she meets, and they’re very normal stories, and then something really weird happens, and then they move on like nothing happened. On the other hand, this is how David Mitchell writes, and I have read some of his other books, so I was sort of used to it, and very confident that I would figure it out soon.

I love his characters. He manages to write very distinct voices. The stories are told from different perspectives, Holly Sykes, Hugo Lamb, Ed Brubeck, Crispin Hershey, and Marinus, and they’re all very distinct and different. They are very interesting and complex characters. Holly is probably the most adorable 16-year-old in the world. Her world is so small and she knows everything better than everyone, her mother does not understand anything and Holly is just the most misunderstood, her love is the strongest love, I loved her! Hugo is a complete psychopath, he has no conscience and when he completely fucks up he just tries to find his way out rather than actually apologizing. Ed is a war journalist, and he just seems a bit harassed and exhausted. I really liked him, he’s just so exhausted by the wars he goes to, but he can’t stop going back. Crispin Hershey talks about himself in the third person, which is not at all weird. He’s just so arrogant and awful and I loved reading the world from his perspective. Marinus is fascinating, it took me a while to realize where I had the name from, but Marinus is a minor character in The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, which I thought was really cool.

I realize I’m completely gushing by the way, but I just really loved this book, I thought it was incredible. I love how David Mitchell writes these novellas that seem to be so normal, just the story of these people, living their lives. And then something completely insane happens and you know that not everything is as it is supposed to be, something is wrong. And I think his writing is beautiful. It’s just so good. How many times have I said this now? Too many? No such thing.

Final thoughts:

I don’t think I have more to say, I loved it. It’s always fun to read David Mitchell. I need to read the rest now. I’ve read three of his books, and he has three (?) more. And he’s supposed to publish another book this year, so that’s exciting. But I’m done now. I think. Fun.