Wednesday, December 28, 2016

David Mitchell - The Bone Clocks (Sceptre, 2015) ***

I am a David Mitchell fan, even though his books are nog Great Literature (with capital G and capital L), they are in the category of clever entertaining and wonderful story-telling.

In The Bone Clocks, an adolescent girl flees from home, disillusioned by her parents and the betrayal of her boy friend. We follow Holly Sykes' narrative with enthusiasm. Her voice is genuine, we feel with her. She is real. Then she gets confronted with some ununderstandable situation. She is lost. We get lost.

The next chapter is narrated by Hugo Lamb, a cynical student boasting about himself and feeling superior to all the stupidities of the world around him (sounding like Martin Amis in his earlier novels). Another perspective is that of Crispin Hershey, an acclaimed novelist whose career goes down the drain, and who bares a deep secret of guilt. And there are three more perspectives that are described in a realistic setting, with easy-to-identify-with characters.

Yet with all of them, something bizarre happens. Nothing much, but just something that is not right, that cannot be explained by rational arguments and facts. It seems that time and space are somehow suspended at certain moments.

What is happening is the age-long battle between the Horologists and the Anchorites, creatures who live somewhere else yet whose war sometimes extends to our world. In Mitchell's narrative, it's as if fantasy interferes with a very realistic present-day account of the lives of normal people. And that's the strength of the novel. He mixes two genres - realism and fantasy - that are like oil and water, impossible to mix, yet somehow it works, although I just recommended my wife against reading this book, because I know she abhors of anything close to fantasy.

Anyway, as you can expect from David Mitchell, The Bone Clockx is well written, fun to read and full of suspense. Just don't ask too many questions and let yourself be carried away.

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