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Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, Canada
My virtue is that I say what I think, my vice that what I think doesn't amount to much.

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Bone Clocks

The Bone Clocks was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize in 2014 and there are many who sing its praises but it took me a very,very long time to get through it
The book opens with a teenaged Holly Sykes fighting with her mother, getting dumped by her boyfriend and running away from home. I was drawn in and looked forward to reading more but the book took off in too many directions and didn't live up to its initial promise.
It consists of six related narratives situated in various international locations  from 1984 to 2043.  Holly Sykes is the first and last narrator and I enjoyed these chapters most. The Holly character makes appearances in all the narratives (as a mixed up teen, a sister, a wife, a mother, a famous author and a grandmother) and I would have been satisfied if the story was all about her.  But two groups of immortals, the Horologists (good guys) and the Anchorites (villains), pop up with increasing frequency to engage in some science fictional age-old battle. Every time they appeared with their mumbo-jumbo I wanted to throw the book at a wall.
The story ends with Holly living out her last days in Ireland. All the predictions about climate change have come true and the world is a Mad Maxian crumbling dystopia. Holly's journey intrigued me but I could have done without the fantasy subplot. In the end The Bone Clocks proved to be too much of a patchwork for my liking. It's as if Mitchell is throwing everything he's got at the reader, hoping something will stick. Holly's story stuck to me but the others slid off me like water off a duck's back.

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