We knew nothing would get done until we finished reading The Bone Clocks so we blew off work for two days to concentrate on it. We could’ve finished sooner, but we needed to recover after each of its five sections.
The Bone Clocks is on the Booker Prize longlist and while we would love if David Mitchell won, it’s probably too damn entertaining for the judges. After the traditional structure of The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet, Mitchell returns to the connect-the-plots-and-characters arrangement of Cloud Atlas (whose film adaptation by the Wachowskis and Tykwer reviewers hate and we really liked). The Bone Clocks is a science-fiction/fantasy novel, with entities not unlike Time Lords who pop in and out at different periods of history. (How does Mitchell avoid getting consigned to the limbo of the “genre” authors, many of whom could write circles around the critically-acclaimed?)
The Bone Clocks is ambitious, gripping, bizarre, occasionally irritating in a blockbuster action movie way (the fourth chapter, detailing the battle between those entities, is Matrix-y), and wonderful, and when we got to the end we wanted to start reading it all over again. The last section, set in 2043 as a world without oil hurtles towards a Mad Max future, was particularly, viscerally terrifying.
How visceral and terrifying? We went to S&R to stock up on provisions in case the world falls apart. Unfortunately we did not consult our apocalypse-prepping friend so we ended up with plenty of cat food, vitamins, ginger ale, and giant bottles of mouthwash and moisturizer. Then it occurred to us that in case the world does go belly up, the Time Lords, Horologists, Atemporals or whoever is in charge would pick us up and whisk us to a library bunker somewhere. And if they don’t, we’d at least have clean teeth (We could probably share the cat food, if things get really dire).
The Bone Clocks will be reviewed in full.