I was completely unprepared for how brilliant this book is.
I picked it up at the library on a whim – mostly (it has to be said) because I thought the cover art was pretty. That’s right – I judged it first by its colour! I had no real idea what to expect, but from pretty much the first page the narrative had me gripped. I’m not really sure what genre to call it – one of the blurb quotations calls it ‘genre-hopping’ – but it’s kind of a mash up between fantasy/mystery/politicky/adventure/epic. The story arc follows Holly Sykes from her rebellious teen years (with flashbacks to her childhood) to the (apparent) end of her life; although not always from her point of view. Like The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, the narration moves between key characters, and it’s a real pleasure watching the artistry with which Mitchell weaves together the threads of lives.
It’s not always obvious how Holly is involved in each chapter… to be honest, for a good long while I had absolutely no idea what was going on – but in the best possible way! I found myself literally holding my breath at points, and I finished the 600+ monster in two days flat because I just could not put it down.
Mitchell touches on some big, relevant topics such as war in the middle east (specifically Iraq, but touching on others too), climate change, global wealth distribution and feminism; but the tone doesn’t feel preachy at all, which I like. The real focus is the people, and the fantasy theme (I don’t want to give too much away; he reveals what this is in his own good time, and like Holly, the reader only figures it out from clues here and there a good chunk into her lifetime).
There’s not much more I can say about this without giving too much away, I think… but suffice it to say that if certain books are pick ‘n’ mix or candy floss, and certain books are healthy vegetable dishes full of fibre The Bone Clocks is a three-course literary meal.
I’m still reeling!