The Bone Clocks
by David Mitchell
Hardcover, 640 pages
Published September 2nd 2014 by Knopf Canada
By far the strength of ‘The Bone Clocks’ comes from its characters. From rebellious Holly Sykes, through the charismatic (yet dastardly) Hugo Lamb, to self-absorbed author Crispin Hershey, Mitchell imbues each with a unique voice, and an ample number of pages in which to convey it.
It seems odd to me to build up such an obvious ‘main’ character, though, only to abandon her viewpoint for much of the book. Other characters kept us up to date on Holly’s life, (especially Ed, her daughter’s father), but strange as it was, it still worked for me. Sometimes the secondary characters’ backstories went on for too long, or even pointlessly (the long story of Marinus in Russia comes to mind) but overall Mitchell did a good job of keeping my attention, and not spoiling the plot. If anything, I felt left in the dark too long.
At times when Holly was among the Horologists the terminology bordered on silly (I psycholaughed at his psychosarcasm…) and the final battle was sort of a Hogwarts-meets-Marvel thing, but I appreciated the well-built circular prophecies, and even went back to re-read earlier passages with a new understanding.
The denouement section in Ireland, like much else of the book, felt overly long, but well-done enough that I didn’t mind (too much), and although I did think once or twice ‘where the hell is this going?’, in the end it felt satisfying. Overall, ‘The Bone Clocks’ could use a bit of paring, though not for lack of quality.