Have you ever read a book, a phrase, a magazine article, or anything really; that was so significant and so profound you couldn’t stop thinking about it? I read a considerable amount of books a year, at least one a week or 52 books a year, no exaggeration. Some weeks I don’t read any books and others I read three back to back, so it evens out in the end. Even though I read quite a bit, usually I finish a book and just continue on with my life. My capacity to house a plethora of characters, storylines, etc in my head is fairly high, so I generally can move to the next book freely and immerse myself into something new rather quickly. But every so often I will read a something that captures my attention so profoundly that I’m powerless to move on.
One of the most recent things I’ve read that left me in this state was The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell. For the life of me I could not stop thinking about this story and the characters. The urge to talk to everyone I knew about this book was uncontrollable, and realistically it’s what prompted me to start a book club with some of my friends. Simply because I wanted, no I needed, someone to talk about this book with!
I will say that this is not an easy read by any means. There were plenty of times I needed to go back a few pages or just altogether stop reading to just absorb and understand what the heck was happening. There was one point I even thought about not finishing the book because I was all sorts of confused. But I persisted and I’m undoubtable happy that I finished the book because the ending was by far the best and worst part of the novel. Note that when I say worst, I only mean it made me feel all the things, all the emotions, and touched my heart a bit. I don’t like to deal with emotions or crying in a book or really anytime, so that my friends, is why it’s the worst.
So let’s talk about why this story is so epic. First off, I will say this was the very first book by David Mitchell that I read. I haven’t had a chance to read any of his other works but what I’ve heard is that he generally uses the same characters across his books. Sometimes their story lines overlap but ultimately this is an independent book that and can be read independently from any of his other works.
Next up, David Mitchell introduces so many characters in this book and follows them throughout the decades. I love that even though we don’t read every little details of these characters lives, we still get to know them and watch them grow. Character wise, the references to how closely people are related universally and the how individual lives cross paths, is extremely well written. One of my most common sayings in life is, ‘it’s a small world’, and I think this book really portrays that aspects.
Third, I’m a sucker for a natural disaster or end of the world type story. I’m terrified of them, it’s one of my biggest fears but I think that’s what makes them so intriguing to me. While the story line doesn’t follow an apocalyptic theme is does brush upon natural disasters. It also reminds the read that humans are merely a product of our environment and the environment (planet earth) could turn against at any given time. Because of this theme, all I can think about is that maybe Mitchell wants us to take a look at our own lives and just be thankful for the moments we have.
There is just a touch of sci-fi and magical realism to the story. Well maybe more of a touch but Holly Sykes can hear angels in her head, always has. Some people thing she’s crazy, others think she has been given a gift. In reality she’s been cursed but we don’t find that at til almost the end of the novel. There is also a war between war between two immortal factions, the Anchorites, who derive their immortality from murdering others, and the Horologists, who are naturally able to reincarnate. We have no idea which one is good and which is evil. Quite honestly, while I’d like to say I know the answer, it’s still very grey scale. But this book prompts me to reflect on so many topics but one of the biggest one revolves around this point. How much of what we believe is right, how much is wrong? Don’t all stories, faiths, and lies have a grain of truth in them? How do we know or shift through all of the truths and untruths? Who are we to judge what is right and what is wrong? I don’t know, and neither do the characters we follow. What we do know is what we decide to be true will impact us for the rest of our lives.
Lastly, I really enjoy watching characters grow. Especially from when they’re young til their deathbed. Quite honestly, people watching is my favorite thing in the world. I find people to be the most fascinating. Why do they do things, why do they think certain, I need to know all the whys! It might take the whole book to find them but this book has answers for me and I love it!
Bonus: You are basically getting 6 stories in 1! I call that a win!
I know Goodreads only gave this book 3.82 stars and I really think that is due to so many people being unable to make it through the entire story. I on the other hand give this book 4.7 stars and will recommend to anyone who asks. You can bet some of David Mitchell’s other works are on my ‘To Read’ shelf! Get it HERE!
Have you read this book? Tell me if you loved it or hated it in the comments below!
“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.”