Oct 28, 2021

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

That’s two for two with this author! I think Cloud Atlas is a bit more successful, mostly because of Part V of The Bone Clocks, and because the ending is jarringly bleak and terrifying, with an absolute worst-case-scenario dystopian future that made me want to move to Iceland tout de suite.

Mitchell has said his books are part of an über book—they all fit together and reference each other, kind of like Stephen King but more philosophical / fantasy / dystopian / nerdy. Some readers find this a bit self-absorbed & pretentious; it’s like all your books are just commercials for all your *other* books…

… but I still READ those other books, and (mostly) enjoy them, and the Stephen King multiverse has led to some really interesting TV adaptations lately (Castle Rock; Chapelwaite)…

… anyway, poking around the Redditverse, I learned a bit more about how Mitchell’s books fit together. With him, it seems like it’s more literal and meaningful than King. For example, one of the Big Questions in Cloud Atlas is whether or not his Russian-nesting-doll characters are reincarnations of each other, or if their connection is meant to be more metaphorical. I was on Team Metaphor, 100%. BUT, after reading The Bone Clocks, I guess I’m switching teams. 😉

Here’s another thing that people probably think is pretentious, but I kinda like it—

I had to look up several vocabulary words while reading this book. Did you know that ‘fissiparous’ means “inclined to cause or undergo division into separate parts or groups”? Well, you do now! I like it when an author trusts me to handle some SAT words, even if you would never use them in real life. (In Mitchell’s defense, the characters who talk like this have been “alive” for like 8 centuries, so it’s probably in character for them to talk funny.)

Oh hey! We haven’t talked about the plot, the characters, or other book-review-y things. That’s because the “plot” isn’t really why you read these. The characters, the parable, the weirdness, the wtf—that’s why.

If you’re interested in David Mitchell, I would suggest starting with Cloud Atlas. If you like it, welcome to the Mitchell-verse. If not, then… don’t! That’s all. 🙂

Samantha Pollack

About Sam

Samantha Pollack is  a Positioning Strategist & Copywriter who creates powerful brand personalities and compelling marketing copy for service providers, creatives, BIPOC women, AuDHD folks, activists, queers, weirdos, and other smart people.

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