Over coffee we confessed that we are literary snobs. We judge people according to what they read. We think the label “Young Adult” disparages the intellectual capacity of adolescents. Deo does not read popular books unless they have been deemed worthy by the critics he listens to. Angus took some unfortunate stranger to task for thinking that Harry Potter was the greatest thing ever written.
We are all waiting for the same book: The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell.
According to Lola the fiction buyer of National Bookstore, The Bone Clocks is on order, along with the new Ian McEwan (We were not crazy about his previous book, which revisited terrain done better in The Innocent and Atonement. Read our review here). Both will probably ship this week, and we hope the congested port doesn’t cause a delay in transporting the books to the warehouse.
(“Then why don’t you get the e-book?” How clever you are. Because we want something we can hold, smell, and if we have to, throw across the room with great force.)
James Wood reviews The Bone Clocks in The New Yorker. Here’s the part where he sums up Mitchell’s work so far.
David Mitchell is a superb storyteller. He has an extraordinary facility with narrative: he can get a narrative rolling along faster than most writers, so that it is filled with its own mobile life. You feel that he can do anything he wants, in a variety of modes, and still convince. “Black Swan Green” (2006) is a funny and sweet-natured semi-autobiographical novel, conventionally told, about a boy growing up in a stifling Worcestershire village. “Cloud Atlas” (2004), his best-known book, is a brilliant postmodern suite, comprising six connected and overlapping novellas, set in such eras as the eighteen-fifties, the nineteen-thirties, the nineteen-seventies, and the dystopian future. His 2010 book, “The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet,” is a more or less traditional historical novel, set in 1799, in the bay of Nagasaki, about relations between the Japanese and the Dutch. He has a marvellous sense of the real and of the unreal, and his best work keeps these elements in nice tension—a balancing of different vitalities. One of the reasons he is such a popular and critically lauded writer is that he combines both the giddy, freewheeling ceaselessness of the pure storyteller with the grounded realism of the humanist. There’s something for everyone, traditionalist or postmodernist, realist or fantasist; Mitchell is a steady entertainer. Pleasing his readership, he has said, is important to him: “One of the questions I always try to keep in the front of my mind is to ask why would anyone want to read this, and to try to find a positive answer for that. People’s time, if you bought it off them, is expensive. Someone’s going to give you eight or ten hours of their life. I want to give them something back, and I want it to be an enjoyable experience.”