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The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

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‘Half of me wants to hit you with something metal.’ She sounds serious. ‘So does the other half.’

That’s how I feel about ALL THE CHARACTERS in this brilliant novel. It’s hard to believe they survive 6 decades together without killing each other. Actually, *spoiler alert*, of course, some of them do kill each other.

Never has 600-odd pages felt so short. David Mitchell is a great storyteller who concentrates on global issues and puts them skilfully into his writing. It feels like he’s been reading my diary and put every theme he could find into his book. Not that my thoughts are special; everyone today is worrying about the Middle East, the environment, social problems, success, failure, life, death and love (the right path to it and away from it).

We follow the main character, Holly, as she meets attractive men on motorbikes and smart, sexy skiers who can’t die, but they are the least of her worries as her brother disappears and we experience a post-apocalyptic future around 2050. In this world, immortality is real, good and bad are locked in an endless conflict and life just won’t stop happening in the background.

Part mystery story, part documentary about humans, the storytelling rockets all over the world: 'Behind us, a girl is dumping her boyfriend in Egyptian Arabic.' The characters, the ones you admire plus the idiots, make good and bad choices in the present tense.

In a story really about heroes uniting to defeat abusers of power, there is a surprising number of layers to the plot; characters and relationships are connected in different places and times all over the world. (And all through David Mitchell’s novels, in fact.)

My favourite part is the end, where we find ourselves in the middle of an oil crisis. After the internet generation, fossil fuels run out and everything we upload, our knowledge (and with it, power and stability), is lost and the world goes dark. There’s not much electricity or food and China is renting the Irish coast where grandmother Holly and her grandchildren are surviving, thanks to her chickens and solar panels. I was both disappointed and relieved to find it takes up about hundred pages at the end of the novel. Even though the book ends on a (relatively) good note, the warning is clear.

The Bone Clocks was exciting, disturbing and painful to read, but it was a wonderful experience. It's best enjoyed when you're ready to think about the world and our impact on it. I recommend you reading it with a comforting mug of hot chocolate.


What do you think the world will be like in 2050? Think about your personal situation, the environment, politics, people …


sanpai28's picture
sanpai28 14 November, 2016 - 02:37

Hmm.....In 2050,I think the world will be completely different and opposite to the past time. There will be more deserts because people fell trees greedily for their own advantages and because of this effect, the climate inconstancy and changes will occur, water will be dry and rare. Natural resources, like crude oil, coal will be rare,too and the rich countries depending on them will be leaded to poverty. The technology will be improved, but things about politics will be recircled back to the past. Inequality and loss of human rights, racism will happen again. The value of human standard will be judged only with skin colour. People don't have mercy, sympathy, love or kindness. They will only look themselves and fill their minds with greed and anger. The world will be muddled.So so many dangerous gases are exhausted, so the world will become hotter and hotter, the ozone layer will be teared more and more, the radiation will be amazingly increased and the species of both plants and animals that are too weak to suffer from heat will be disappeared. Whoo......... :/ just the imagination even makes me feel worried about the future. But it is not too late to make the world better if we think about our mistakes and faults, and fix them in time. So, let's stand together and unite to make the world healthy and happy again, earthlings! ; )

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LucyBlogger's picture
LucyBlogger 18 February, 2017 - 13:27

I think you're right (unfortunately)! But I hope you're also right about people recognising this and starting to work together to make a better world. 

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