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.
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.