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The Bone Clocks
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The Bone Clocks (Paperback)

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Read our exclusive interview with David Mitchell, in which he talks about the 70 short stories that became The Bone Clocks, Talking Heads' masterpiece and what's wrong with Benedict Cumberbatch. He also recommends some of his favourite Japanese fiction and tantalises us with a hints about his next novel.

Run away, one drowsy summer's afternoon, with Holly Sykes: wayward teenager, broken-hearted rebel and unwitting pawn in a titanic, hidden conflict. Over six decades, the consequences of a moment's impulse unfold, drawing an ordinary woman into a world far beyond her imagining. And as life in the near future turns perilous, the pledge she made to a stranger may become the key to her family's survival....

Fiction & PoetryModern & contemporary fiction post c 1945 Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General Division Publication Date: 18/06/2015 ISBN-13: 9780340921623  Details: Type: Paperback Format: Books
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David Mitchell is the author of the novels Ghostwritten, number9dream, Cloud Atlas, Black Swan Green, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, The Bone Clocks and Slade House. He has been shortlisted twice for the Booker Prize, won the John Llewellyn Rhys, Geoffrey Faber Memorial and South Bank Show Literature Prizes among others, and been named a Granta Best Young British Novelist. In 2018, he won the Sunday Times Award for Literary Excellence, given in recognition of a writer's entire body of work. In addition, David Mitchell together with KA Yoshida has translated from Japanese two books by Naoki Higashida - The Reason I Jump: One Boy's Voice from the Silence of Autism and Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight: A Young Man's Voice from the Silence of Autism. He lives with his wife and their two children in Ireland.

More books by David Mitchell

Customer Reviews

I picked this up having read and loved Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. Whilst not quite as good as the latter, in my opinion, this book certainly held my interest and I couldn't put it down. The first chapter starts off a little dull, but Mitchell then hits you with a sideswipe of a plot twist that makes you want to keep reading to find out more. His use of language is fluid and beautiful, which may put off some readers as a bit "flouncy"; however, it's super satisfying to read as a fellow writer and makes the characters come alive, with their myriad personas and flaws. I chose this book to read as part of a book club I belong to and am eagerly awaiting our discussion once everyone has completed it.

- 13/09/2018
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Staff Choice

I absolutely gorged myself on this whipplescrumptious delight, reading until I couldn't see straight one night and then polishing it off over an extended breakfast. The original plan had been for 70 short stories, a year for each one, but ultimately The Bone Clocks was distilled into six longer stories, each roughly a decade on from the previous one. The central narrative, which dips in and out of view like a railway line passing through hills, is an ancient war between two factions of immortal souls, one of whom takes refuge within teenage runaway Holly. This premise is perhaps a knowing wink at Mitchell's penchant for recurring characters from previous novels, and there are plenty here.

The six-decade journey to post-apocalyptic Ireland stops by locales as contrasting as a ski resort and Iraq's Green Zone, as well as a sharp satire on the book world's foibles. The writing fizzes with Carrollian playfulness, ideas orbiting like electrons, but it's not as random as cursory reading suggests: there are little gems such as the the first track of the only LP Holly takes with her in the first chapter turning up as the name of her dog in the last.

Isolated negative reviews have taken issue with the fantasy aspect, but objections can be classed in three ways: personal taste, failing to notice that this is hardly the first time Mitchell has blurred the edges of reality or the relative simple resolution of affairs, the last of which could have saved JRR Tolkien some lengthy exposition. For me, The Bone Clocks is very much about the journey, rather than the destination, making it the ideal book in which to indulge oneself in a cosy nook as winter tightens its grip.

  • Read my interview with David Mitchell here (or, if you prefer, in the back of the book itself, as it's printed there)

Jonathan, Web Editor

Charing Cross Rd Bookshop - 07/05/2015


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