The Bone Clocks: A Novel

The Bone Clocks: A Novel

by David Mitchell


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The New York Times bestseller by the author of Cloud Atlas  Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize Named One of the Top Ten Fiction Books of the Year by Time, Entertainment Weekly, and O: The Oprah Magazine  A New York Times Notable Book An American Library Association Notable Book  Winner of the World Fantasy Award

“With The Bone Clocks, [David] Mitchell rises to meet and match the legacy of Cloud Atlas.”—Los Angeles Times

Following a terrible fight with her mother over her boyfriend, fifteen-year-old Holly Sykes slams the door on her family and 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 on the war in 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.

Rich with character and realms of possibility, The Bone Clocks is a kaleidoscopic novel that begs to be taken apart and put back together by a writer The Washington Post calls “the novelist who’s been showing us the future of fiction.”

An elegant conjurer of interconnected tales, a genre-bending daredevil, and a master prose stylist, David Mitchell has become one of the leading literary voices of his generation. His hypnotic new novel, The Bone Clocks, crackles with invention and wit and sheer storytelling pleasure—it is fiction at its most spellbinding.

Named to more than 20 year-end best of lists, including

NPR  San Francisco Chronicle • The Atlantic • The Guardian  Slate  BuzzFeed

“One of the most entertaining and thrilling novels I’ve read in a long time.”—Meg Wolitzer, NPR

“[Mitchell] writes with a furious intensity and slapped-awake vitality, with a delight in language and all the rabbit holes of experience.”The New York Times Book Review

“Intensely compelling . . . fantastically witty . . . offers up a rich selection of domestic realism, gothic fantasy and apocalyptic speculation.”The Washington Post

“[A] time-traveling, culture-crossing, genre-bending marvel of a novel.”O: The Oprah Magazine

“Great fun . . . a tour de force . . . [Mitchell] channels his narrators with vivid expertise.”San Francisco Chronicle

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780812976823
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/16/2015
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 656
Sales rank: 161,144
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.60(d)
Lexile: 880L (what's this?)

About the Author

David Mitchell is the award-winning and bestselling author of The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, Black Swan Green, Cloud Atlas, Number9Dream, and Ghostwritten. Twice shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Mitchell was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time in 2007. With KA Yoshida, Mitchell translated from the Japanese the internationally bestselling memoir The Reason I Jump. He lives in Ireland with his wife and two children.

Read an Excerpt

June 30

Excerpted from "The Bone Clocks"
by .
Copyright © 2015 David Mitchell.
Excerpted by permission of Random House Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Bone Clocks: A Novel 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 49 reviews.
Angie_Lisle More than 1 year ago
I love Mitchell's writing; the man certainly knows how to turn a pretty sentence. This book is formatted similarly to Cloud Atlas, with six nested parts that collaborate to move the plot forward, and what I stated in my review of Cloud Atlas holds true for this book as well: when you think of this book in outline form, mind-boggling. Then, that outline gets weighted down by words. And I felt the weight of this book even more so than I did with its predecessor. I started out high on Holly Sykes in 'A Hot Spell.' I fell absolutely head over heels into the first part of this book. Then, I hit the second part of the book, 'Myrrh is Mine, its Bitter Perfume,' and that crush ended fast. Juxtaposition is the only reason I can come up with to explain such a droll section. I read 'A Hot Spell' in one day but it took a week to get through 'Myrrh is Mine, its Bitter Perfume' because I despised the main character, the pretentious narcissist Hugo Lamb (after this section, I returned to the schedule of reading one section per day). I briefly wished that I could pop into the story just to slap Lamb around a couple times. And by slap, I mean palm strike to the forehead with enough shoulder-backing to throw the little d-bag back on his egotistical behind. I celebrated reaching the end of this section. Seriously, I sprung for expensive craft ale. The third and fourth parts, 'The Wedding Bash' and 'Crispin Hershey's Lonely Planet,' dragged with verbose meanderings that wander off-point and convey small amounts of information pertaining to Holly. The future that's coming later in the book is set up here, with Mitchell showing readers what parts of the real world shape his future world. But, half the fun of a fantasy is the escape from the mundane real-world and it's the lengthy delivery of these details that matters after finishing the next two sections, 'An Horologist's Labyrinth' and 'Sheep's Head.' Especially 'Sheep's Head,' set in the year 2043, which has a back-story chock full of all kinds of amazing events that we never read about because Mitchell chose a brief telling of events during conversation rather than showing us - which wouldn't bother me if the third and fourth parts had been delivered in the same manner. However, I loved the way Mitchell ended this book. I even like the way he wrapped up Hugo Lamb; it felt like an apology for making me want to hit Lamb so bad. I received a free advanced reader's copy of this book from First Reads in exchange for a review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good writer, but ill be hesitant to read another by him. Lots of seemingly pointless info; the plot i picked up the book to read could have been told in 40 pages. Another reviewer said it best "mostly empty calories". If he writes a book with full calories id read it for sure; but i didnt even read the end of this one, nor will i have the desire to. I do like his writing, just not in pointless bulk. I like how he portrays peoples thoughts, its very real. Maybe i missed the point, searching for the paranormal aspect.
Books4Tomorrow More than 1 year ago
Spanning a time period of about fifty-nine years, The Bone Clocks is a captivating and highly stimulating read. The story follows Holly Sykes from her teenage years, through numerous paranormal encounters, to her old age when she tries to make an existence in a disintegrating world. Although this lengthy novel provided me with five days of intense reading, I can truly say that it was worth every minute. Apart from the beautifully written prose, I loved the well chosen bits of well-known poetry and prose from popular works quoted at appropriate places in the story. The characters are masterfully crafted, fleshed out and absolutely lifelike. Holly Sykes, the main character, starts off as a rebellious teenager who runs away from home simply because her mother disapproves of her boyfriend. Throughout the book she shows growth until, at the end, she is a great-grandmother in charge of young children in a near-apocalyptic setting.  Other remarkable characters include the womanizing, thieving student, Hugo Lamb aka Marcus Anyder, a bestselling writer with a serious grudge, and Ed Brubeck, a father who tries to convince himself that he isn't a war-zone junkie. Then there are the mysterious body hopping Immaculée Constantin and the strangely reincarnating Marinus; both of whom are hugely paranormal. The question is: which of them is really the bad guy in this tale? The Bone Clocks presents the most believable end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it scenario that I've ever encountered in a book. It is so logical and realistic that the Endarkenment, as it is called, turned out to be the scariest part of the book for me.  For an engaging read with tons of action, brilliant characters, and a completely captivating storyline, I recommend The Bone Clocks as an absolute must-read! (Ellen Fritz)
bmilano31 More than 1 year ago
I went into this with great promise having read reviews comparing Mitchell to Hurakami, one of my favorite authors.  Well,  Mr.  Hurakami has nothing to worry.  This book is as close to unreadable as any I've come across.   The first chapter is far and away the best in the book. After this, the author goes off on tangents using language, terms and words that were totally foreign to me. In chapter two alone, Mitchell writes paragrapgh after paragraph in French with no translation whatsoever, leaving the reader totally lost and confused. There were times when I actually thought Mitchell was toying with the reader, seeing how many times they would need to stop reading and consult a dictionary. Yes, it is THAT confounding.  The story is all over the place and in was completely lost regarding character progression, relationships and the overall storyline.The sections relating to the immortals was one of the worst pieces of writing I have ever experienced. I waded my way through 500 something pages and was still meandering about trying to connect the dots.  I was waiting for the story to be wrapped up so that the proceeding pages would somehow make sense. Alas, this was not the case. I was just as confused as before. After 600 plus pages in would expect and hope for something of closure or a direction. This was not the case.  Thankfully I borrowed this book from the library and didn't drop $30. But based upon Mitchell being compared to Hurakami, I did purchase Number9Dream. Hopefully, that book won't be as much of a mes as this one was.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could not wait to read this book when it came out because Cloud Atlas is one of my favorite books. When I started the book, I was a little confused about where it was going. Then I read about 300 pages, of which I could have skipped. I lost what little plot I was following but I read on. From page 400 to the end, the book it fantastic and not to be missed. The book has 6 parts with six narrators. All the parts have the character Holly Sykes involved. You have to jump in and read the entire book to find out the plot of the book but I assure you, it is well worth your effort.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was not at all what I expected. For starters, it was much too long. Many parts dragged on laboriously, only to cede to another part that was just as bad. The storylines were often confusing, hard to follow, and outright irrelevant to the story as a whole (Crispin Hershey and Ed Brubeck, I'm looking at you). The most bizarre and most prominent storyline, about the Horologists, never progressed to any kind of real explanation or understanding, and I spent the entire book (literally up to the last 20 pages) wondering when things would start to make sense. Spoiler alert: they don't. The dialogue and writing style feel stiff and jilted, so they can't even lend themselves as a redemptive feature to the rest of the book. It was just a jumble of random stories with the main character randomly tied in for short periods of time, which never really amounts to a whole story. Most of the characters are outright unlikable, too, to the point where you're reading and wondering why you should care about any of them and why you should bother reading about them. Additionally, the final section of the book feels like a broken-off tree branch that's just barely hanging on to the rest of the tree. Had it not been for the main character's presence and a few details, this could have been a chapter from a different book, mistakenly placed in this one. It was so incredibly disjointed, and seemed to have NOTHING to do with the rest of the book. Seriously this book was so weird I can barely write a review that would adequately explain it. Please choose another book to read.
WriteReason More than 1 year ago
The introduction of Holly Sykes is a good start for this story, but what lies between this, and the last 250 pages is rather long winded, with divided thoughts on whether it is entirely related or needed.  The last 250 pages is where this story really takes off, but even it has its drawbacks.  The first 60 or more pages of these last pages, is devoted to explanation of what this tale is all about--the differences of the Anchorites and the Horologist; the passing of souls; the war. Some reviewers say this was good writing, for me, it was just a lot of words.  The last 250 pages are very interesting, but even these pages are rather wordy.  A lot of rhetoric that, at times, feels so redundant.  The author uses a lot of words to get simple things across, and it draws upon the reader.  Though the concepts of the afterlife he directs in this story are quite intriguing, I will not consider this book to be placed  among my favorites.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read on the average two books per week. I like Patterson, Bakducci, Clancy and several other authors. I heard about Mitchell's books, researched it, and decided to give him a try. For me it was way to much fantasy to keep interested, after the first 100 pages were a simple story about the adventure of a girl in England running away from home...and then it went to a totally different direction. I don't know Uf I will give Mitchell another shot. I out thr book down after the first day and donated it to my local library the next day.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While the concept was unique, the sheer amount of characters, changing time periods and crazy language made it very hard to get through the first half of the book. And the end! Just pick a theme lady WTH.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't believe it took me so long to find this. One of the best books I have ever read! The characters were incredible and the stories were intense and enthralling.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you liked Cloud Atlas you will like this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book wasn't at all what I expected... For one thing, it was much too long. Parts of the book dragged on for far too long, and did nothing to contibute to the many rambling storylines
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read exactly 1/2 of this book and still have no idea who what when where. Sorry
YoyoMitch More than 1 year ago
When Mr. Mitchell wrote Cloud Atlas, he created a universe made of different times; each generation was a shuffle of the lives found in the previous centuries. His ability to carry a story from the British Colonial era to life on another planet caused the reader to see life as more than breath, profession or location. Life became a gathering of maps, each gathered in a cluster for a time then the pages turned to reveal the next continent of Being. His mind blowing work deepens to explore how consciousness causes life to become Living in this book of relationship, love, honor and exploration of mental illness. “Bone Clocks,” the name given humans by the Anchorites, a cult of humans who have learned to delay death by stealing the bodies of unsuspecting people. A new body must be acquired every three years, so the “sacrifices” are nothing more than a way to measure time until they are discarded. Atemporals are a breed of humans whose souls are recycled after 49 days from the death of those they most recently inhabited. They do not pick their next body, nor do they aware of how their kind came to be or how the process of “rebirth” happens. They are the only enemies of the Anchorites and are the only ones capable of stopping their taking over the world. Both of these groups have traveled among us for thousands of years. Who each group is how, they travel and where humanity is headed is covered in the lengthy, absorbing collection of connected short stories. Each story, at first, seems disparate from the other. Each is engaging, after the shock of the abrupt end of the previous tale is eased, and will draw the reader into the world being created so easily that said reader will find themselves at home in a new “time” without being sure how they got there. By the final chapter, I was so used to the shift in time that I felt part Atemporal. The story begins in 1984 in a small English village. Fifteen-year-old Holly Sykes is leaving her home after a fight with her mother. As she headed to her boyfriend’s apartment, she had little idea how her world was about to change. As a child, the time she spent in hospital to get rid of The Voices helped her hold to a reality that was secure and logical could not prepare her for the world into which she now walked; the incidental meeting of an old lady fishing, seeing her brother where he could not be, learning to pick strawberries lead to an existence that is unbelievable until she is living it. Throughout the six stories, Holly is found to be present, sometimes centrally, sometimes as a person barely noticed but always heading toward events that shake the world. Mr. Mitchell has a gift for shifting time in such a way that brings about clarity for the present moment. Who has not felt that what they were seeing/feeling/thinking was but a shadow of reality? Who has felt they had knowledge of the life they were living that could only have been obtained only by having lived, in some form, previously? In some circles, such possibilities would be considered as symptoms of mental imbalance (as they should be in those circumstances); in the hands of this gifted author, such experiences are a glimpse into a place that could explain questions once too frightening to consider. This is a book for those mature enough to keep a
scottydback More than 1 year ago
I started this once and put it down. After I read Slade House, I returned to Bone Clocks, and this time couldn't put it down. Not sure if its a reading mood, or finally getting the hang of Micthell, but loved this story!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
David Mitchell is equalling and exceeding anything he has ever written with this book.
Qalamkar More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the worst books ever.
ksprings More than 1 year ago
This review was originally published on Kurt's Frontier. Synopsis: Holly Sykes is a 15-year-old who is sensitive to psychic phenomenon. She hears voices only of someone she calls “the radio people.” After a terrible argument with her mother, she storms out of the house, triggering the start of an adventure that will last her entire lifetime. She has come to the attention of dangerous mystics, and their enemies who seek to protect her. The loss of her eccentric younger brother scars her family and affects everyone Holly’s life touches. Review: There are many interesting elements in The Bone Clocks. David Mitchell deals with a rich tapestry of psychic powers. It is a story of psychic predators and those who seek to stop them. Caught up in this centuries long war is a young girl with psychic powers of her own. Her running a way triggers a series of events that scar her and influence the rest of her life. The book uses the first person point of view. However, the book makes huge jumps in time and constantly shifts points of view. While there are a few gripping comments, much of the book is long exposition and far from a page turner. The author makes use of flashbacks which further arrests the forward progress of the story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found it almost impossible to put down, well worth your time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
GregZimmerman More than 1 year ago
Best book of the year - and it's not even close.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago