Monday, 22 September 2014

Enjoying The Bone Clocks, but now a dilemma...

I've been reading the polyphonic adventure of David Mitchell's The Bone Clocks, but still have a way to go.

I've just noticed that it is being serialised starting Monday night on Radio 4, which presents me with a kind of dilemma.

Should I listen to the radio adaptation, which has the potential to overtake my reading speed? Or should I ignore it until I've finished the book?

I'm enjoying the multi-perspective and multi-timed story telling, which began in 1984 and has been jumping forward in roughly ten year increments, from different narrative points of view. It's compellingly written with sudden moments where everything pivots onto another plane, as well as various clues being dropped into the storyline ahead of later reveals.

David Mitchell also wrote 'The Cloud Atlas', which I haven't read, and to be honest I gave up when watching the movie. My guess is that the prior book started out with similar multiple point of views but somehow the movie struggled.

Mitchell has created very accessible characterisations. The initially 15 year old heroine of Holly gets a somewhat Roald Dahl styled start (No spoiler to say that Dahl would say 'Kill the parents' as a quick way to give young protagonists free will). By the first 10% (Kindle-speak) the story is jagging off unexpectedly.

The thinking explores connections and arcs much broader than the grounded start. From very early in the book there's hints of strange and paranormal topics, which I'm expecting to clarify over the last third of the book.

"she’s sort of sketched onto the corner where nobody’ll spot her"

Weirdly, in just looking for a cover art image to head this blog post, I notice the alternative U.S. cover actually has a series of arcs. Like those strange enamel black and white labyrinth signs in tube stations, the book is messing with my mind in a good way.

I'm trying not to give too much away. Suffice to say we get straightforward human interest, mysticism, academe, conflict, humour, economic catastrophe and metaphysics. And I've still got a decent chunk left to read.

A thoroughly enjoyable page turner, with (so far?) a positive heart.

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