It’s no secret that I have a special place in my heart and bookshelf for Mr Mitchell. Why? To name but a few reasons: the beautiful imagery, effortless humour, diversity of style, wild ideas and the fact that he doesn’t quite follow the “rules”. It’s not for everyone, sure, but I get such a kick out of this sort of genre-bending weirdness. This novel is six books stitched together with a character and a thread of the paranormal. It almost needs six super-mini reviews… Hmm…
Super-Mini Reviews: The Six Parts of ‘The Bone Clocks’, by David Mitchell
1. A Hot Spell, 1984: The protagonist’s voice is strong, the setting is vivid, the skin-crawl factor from the paranormal bits is like a fish hook through the face, dragging you onward.
2. Myrrh Is Mine, Its Bitter Perfume, 1991: My favourite of the six. Despicably eloquent snobs and such a perfect contrast to the first bit.
3. The Wedding Bash, 2004: This one was a mixed bag; parts of it were on the plodding side, I felt, and the focal character voice less interesting than the previous two, but the climactic scene was brilliantly handled.
4. Crispin Hershey’s Lonely Planet, 2015: Shameless metafiction bathed in acidic humour. I wanted to hate Crispin, and sometimes I did, but I don’t think any writer or wannabe writer could ever hate him completely…
5. An Horologist’s Labyrinth, 2025: The paranormal becomes the focus here. If any of the parts are going to chase away the more literary readers, it’s this one. Super weird, but it had to be there and I was entertained throughout.
6. Sheep’s Head, 2043: A sobering conclusion. It’s not without it’s paranormal thread, but it’s chillingly real after part five’s flights of fantasy. There’s hope too, thank goodness; hope for us tragic bone clocks.
Verdict: Did I love it? Yes. Was it as good as Cloud Atlas? I don’t know. Should you read it? Absolutely, unless you’re allergic to the paranormal stuff!