“For what it’s worth, subremarks Oshima, I believe her.” (The Bone Clocks by David Michel)
The Bone Clocks is a book that keeps reminding me of other books – both for its successes and its failures. It reminds me of Kim Stanley Robinson’s 2312 in its compelling weirdness, its dropping-you-in-the-middle-of-things, its slowly-revealed plotline. It also reminds me of Saunders’ The Tenth of December for how it subspeaks, subreminds, subwarns, etc, to create a world through new language.
However, The Bone Clocks also finds itself in less sought-after company. Like Neil Stephenson’s bulky Reamde, it seems that Mitchell’s editor lacked the gumption to cut what needed to be cut from this wordy novel. Mitchell’s love of details, epic plotlines, and secondary characters obscures what is truly special about this book. Additionally, The Bone Clocks follows the path of books whose endings don’t match their promising beginnings. Like the deeply disappointing last few chapters of Bryson’s At Home, David Mitchell insists on prophesying a near-future, pre-apocalyptic world – thus turning a realistic/fantasy genre bending novel into a shocking compendium of scare tactics.
Buy – Borrow – TBR – Avoid
Ending: Deeply disappointing and depressing
Incidental Learning: 1980’s England
Further Reading: I am curious about Mitchell’s much-lauded Cloud Atlases – did I simply read the wrong Mitchell?