Change is sort of hardwired into the world… what’s real changes. If life didn’t change, it wouldn’t be life, it’d be a photograph. – David-Mitchell-in-Holly-Sykes
I just finished The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell. The passage I quoted is near the very end of the book; it wasn’t until I read it that I realized this book is where my last blog post came from. That particular message, that life changes (one I have spent quite a bit of time pondering, one reason why I enjoyed the book so much), came across to me before it was ever explicitly suggested. That is a sign of a talented author if ever I’ve seen one!
And my is David Mitchell a talented author. He strings together seemingly random characters and ideas masterfully into an interconnected maze; a loose conglomerate coming together in the end to form a complete structure. It’s quite remarkable considering the importance of mazes in the story.
The best books are the ones that make you think, and think again. The Bone Clocks was certainly a clever examination of mortality and life. It got me invested in the characters and left me wanting more. Holly is… I have no words for Holly. She’s just wonderful. And I sure hope Oshima shows up in Mitchell’s past or future novels!
I checked out two of his other novels, Slade House and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet, from the library, so those are next on the list. I think I’ll start Slade House tomorrow, in fact…
Update: *spoiler warning* I realized I didn’t say anything about the last part of the book, “Sheep’s Head.” I felt it was a bit contrived. It didn’t so much as add to the plot as advertise the terrible effects of global warming and depleting oil reserves, which is fine, those are both very good and appreciated points, but I think it could have done well as a separate novella. For example, in my opinion all of the major points of the book would be the same if that passage was completely left off. Sure we find out what happens to Holly, and we wouldn’t have that glorious quote that I used earlier (that could have easily been added elsewhere in the book), but all of the other characters in that passage were created in that passage; they weren’t part of the book before that (which is the pattern of the different sections of the book, but it seems an odd choice for the end; ends of books are usually spent tying things up, no?). Those characters were interesting, but again, I think it would have been better as a novella because, simply put, turning the book into a dystopian novel at the last second seems like a sell out and a terrible way of cheapening the rest of the book. The “maze” had been completed, why tack on this extra part that doesn’t seem to fit with the rest of it? I would much rather have seen the last part of the book tie up the Crispin Hershey end, which I feel was left dangling… or did I miss something?
Regardless of all those quips (which I hadn’t even included in my original post), it’s obviously still a remarkably spectacular book. It’s rare that a book captures my attention as wholly as The Bone Clocks did! I will definitely be reading it again, as I think it’s one of those books that will be even better the second time.