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The Bone Clocks

by David Mitchell

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Horologists (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,0232902,213 (3.81)1 / 506
Following a scalding row with her mother, fifteen-year-old Holly Sykes slams the door on her old life. But Holly is no typical teenage runaway: a sensitive child once contacted by voices she knew only as "the radio people," Holly is a lightning rod for psychic phenomena. Now, as she wanders deeper into the English countryside, visions and coincidences reorder her reality until they assume the aura of a nightmare brought to life. For Holly has caught the attention of a cabal of dangerous mystics -- and their enemies. But her lost weekend is merely the prelude to a shocking disappearance that leaves her family irrevocably scarred. This unsolved mystery will echo through every decade of Holly's life, affecting all the people Holly loves -- even the ones who are not yet born. A Cambridge scholarship boy grooming himself for wealth and influence, a conflicted father who feels alive only while reporting from occupied Iraq, a middle-aged writer mourning his exile from the bestseller list -- all have a part to play in this surreal, invisible war on the margins of our world. From the medieval Swiss Alps to the nineteenth-century Australian bush, from a hotel in Shanghai to a Manhattan townhouse in the near future, their stories come together in moments of everyday grace and extraordinary wonder.… (more)
  1. 131
    Cloud Atlas: A Novel by David Mitchell (jody)
    jody: Has that same clever connectivity that makes mitchells books so intriguing.
  2. 91
    The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (vwinsloe)
    vwinsloe: Similar tone. Fantasy.
  3. 92
    American Gods {original} by Neil Gaiman (sturlington)
    sturlington: The Bone Clocks reminded me strongly of Neil Gaiman and David Mitchell has said that Gaiman was an influence.
  4. 31
    TransAtlantic by Colum McCann (zhejw)
    zhejw: Both books explore human connections made across multiple generations and across oceans while ultimately concluding in Ireland.
  5. 20
    The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber (hairball)
    hairball: The world falls apart...
  6. 42
    1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (suniru)
  7. 21
    The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton (shurikt)
    shurikt: Fascinating character studies, and just enough (possibly) supernatural activity to bend genre.
  8. 21
    Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (MsMaryAnn)
  9. 10
    The End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas (jonathankws)
  10. 33
    Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco (Tanya-dogearedcopy)
  11. 01
    California by Edan Lepucki (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  12. 01
    The Overstory by Richard Powers (Cecrow)
  13. 15
    Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (vwinsloe)
    vwinsloe: Similar plot points.
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Group TopicMessagesLast Message 
 Booker Prize: 2014 Booker Prize longlist: The Bone Clocks19 unread / 19gendeg, September 2014

» See also 506 mentions

English (285)  Dutch (3)  German (2)  French (1)  All languages (291)
Showing 1-5 of 285 (next | show all)
Interesting, not great.
The writing was just ok - I really enjoy interesting writers and this one just did not shine through. The story line was very good. I was not happy with the way it ended, but since I did not write it, I don't get to decide. ( )
  RuthInman123 | Mar 12, 2024 |
This was my first David Mitchell and I think I can say that I'm a fan and will certainly pick up his other work (at least Cloud Atlas which I've had on my nightstand for years!) However, I'm not completely sure what I thought about The Bone Clocks.

Parts of it were wonderful but there were almost as many parts that were very slow and that never tied themselves to the main story enough to justify their presence in the book.

I would love to read more about the individual horologists and their lives. I really enjoyed the parts about Marinus as a young serf and his initial meetings with Xi Lo and Holokai and would like to know more about their metalives. I also want to know what happened to Hugo Lamb after he got into the car in Switzerland. There's so much that I'd rather have seen than all the time spent with Crispin Hershey.

Overall, a mixed thumbs-up.


( )
  hmonkeyreads | Jan 25, 2024 |
This is one of the stranger books I have read and will have to think about it for a while before I decide if I liked it or not. Mitchell remains a powerful stylist. All the magic stuff...well, I'll just have to ponder it for a while. ( )
  MylesKesten | Jan 23, 2024 |
Outside the last two chapters, I loved this book. Mitchell's writing is incredible. His main characters are flawlessly written.

The last two chapters could have been just as good were it not for the abrupt switch into fantasy Harry Potter-style magic mixed with Westernized Eastern religions in the penultimate chapter, which was abrupt and very unwelcome. It came as a tremendous information dump, leading to the ridiculous battle.

The final chapter was good, except for the lengthy and overly wrought disaster movie lecture on climate change, which droned on for far too long and added little to the overall story.
( )
  rabbit-stew | Dec 31, 2023 |
yeah, just too woo woo for me. I gave it 200 pages out of 600, but just didn't want to pick it up.
  Helenliz | Oct 19, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 285 (next | show all)
Mitchell's plotting is as intricate as ever, and he indulges in many familiar tricks. Themes, characters and images recur in different configurations, as in a complex musical work; characters from earlier Mitchell books make guest appearances; there are sly references to Mitchell's literary reputation, as well as to the works of other writers....

Mitchell is a writer who will always do his own thing, and the question to ask about his work isn't how profound it is, or what category it belongs to, but how much fun it is to read. And on that measure, The Bone Clocks scores highly.
 
In fact, Holly’s emergence from “The Bone Clocks” as the most memorable and affecting character Mr. Mitchell has yet created is a testament to his skills as an old-fashioned realist, which lurk beneath the razzle-dazzle postmodern surface of his fiction, and which, in this case, manage to transcend the supernatural nonsense in this arresting but bloated novel.
 
Another exacting, challenging and deeply rewarding novel from logophile and time-travel master Mitchell
added by sturlington | editKirkus Reviews (Jul 1, 2014)
 

» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mitchell, Davidprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Aaltonen, EinariKääNtäJä.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ball, JessicaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bentinck, AnnaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oldenburg, VolkerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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I fling open my bedroom curtains, and there's the thirsty sky and the wide river full of ships and boats and stuff, but I'm already thinking of Vinny's chocolaty eyes, shampoo down Vinny's back, beads of sweat on Vinny's shoulders, and Vinny's sly laugh, and by now my heart's going mental and, God, I wish I was waking up in Vinny's place in Peacock Street and not in my own stupid bedroom.
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The fantasy subplot clashes so violently with the State of the World pretensions, I cannot bear to look.
What surer sign is there that the creative aquifers are dry than a writer creating a writer character?
My hero is a Cambridge student called Richard Cheeseman, working on a novel about a Cambridge student called Richard Cheeseman, working on a novel about a Cambridge student called Richard Cheeseman. No one’s ever tried anything like it.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Following a scalding row with her mother, fifteen-year-old Holly Sykes slams the door on her old life. But Holly is no typical teenage runaway: a sensitive child once contacted by voices she knew only as "the radio people," Holly is a lightning rod for psychic phenomena. Now, as she wanders deeper into the English countryside, visions and coincidences reorder her reality until they assume the aura of a nightmare brought to life. For Holly has caught the attention of a cabal of dangerous mystics -- and their enemies. But her lost weekend is merely the prelude to a shocking disappearance that leaves her family irrevocably scarred. This unsolved mystery will echo through every decade of Holly's life, affecting all the people Holly loves -- even the ones who are not yet born. A Cambridge scholarship boy grooming himself for wealth and influence, a conflicted father who feels alive only while reporting from occupied Iraq, a middle-aged writer mourning his exile from the bestseller list -- all have a part to play in this surreal, invisible war on the margins of our world. From the medieval Swiss Alps to the nineteenth-century Australian bush, from a hotel in Shanghai to a Manhattan townhouse in the near future, their stories come together in moments of everyday grace and extraordinary wonder.

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