From the fantastically visceral film adaptation of another David Mitchell masterpiece “Cloud Atlas,” the Cloud Atlas sextet serves as the musical underpinning that really weaves together all the disparate elements of that story.
There is so much needless, and even at times, inordinate effusion and tomfoolery in this review, so you really should stay away from it, for your own good. That is, if such praise to you, seems unworthy and unqualified for any writer. In this case (in my opinion) it’s not…..Enjoy the review! 😀
Post-modern tales can either cast a cynical pallor over the notion of magic or alchemy, letting the antiquated sophism be shown as something silly and irrational even within the template of a fictional story. Some post-modern tales allow this magic, though, to coexist in largely an atheistic world, and allow it to be one more singular force in a world embroidered with many different subatomic reactions and such. Isn’t magic just the code word for all the large meta or microscopic reactions occurring somewhere in the wide expanse of space? In David Mitchell’s multifarious new novel The Bone Clocks, magic is a potent, mostly a psychic force that deepens the appreciable scope of the psychological landscape of the story, as told through six or so disparate perspectives or stories that can all be read separately. But like a quantum reaction, examining the story, or the interrelated parts or intricate cogs of the six stories, as a whole, allows different readers to glean many different interpretations of the story. Is The Bone Clocks a story of magic, an existential allegory broken up into six different small fables, a narrative about one character’s life that really inadvertently begins another character’s lives as well, or is this story an enigma whose mystery only paradoxically deepens after the story ends?
The beginning of the story begins with the seemingly simplistic yarn of a runaway teenage girl-named Holly Sykes- who has the spunk, and marked rebellion of every story of a teenager ever told in earlier novels. Her apparent disorientation revolves around the very confusing, oftentimes bewildering world, where heartbreak and other classical vicissitudes of human life exist principally, at this point in a teenager’s life, to inspire poetry, laced with all the lugubrious rantings and ravings that is so common for every so-called teenage lunatic at this point in their drama-filled lives. The story of teen melodrama exists, even though Holly is born in the eighties, where things are reasonably civilized, especially if you were living in England. All the environmental, apocalyptic fears are merely alarmist scares. No, the most immediate and pressing drama for her is the woes of unrequited love, and it is her story that slyly begins as just a merely mundane story, that allows David Mitchell-the story-wizard capable of creating wild tales-spins of stories with ridiculously puzzling cosmologies- to throw us all into transient disarray as we are swept into a world that is even more wild and unprecedentedly unorthodox than we ever foresaw from the outset of the novel.
No reader could possibly foresee the fact that the mystical voices of the mythical radio people (referring to the mysterious voices appearing in Holly Sykes minds, would serve as a portent, of the deeper mysteries that will erupt simultaneously in the psyches of the readers and the story itself. These things are very cleverly interwoven, and they magically appear in the novel, like clock-work, without any sense of false contrivance that many other writers with great talent can easily be stymied by in a fraction of an imprecise word. Like fortune, that one imprecise word betrays to the reader they are no longer inhabiting the story, but just reading a mere script, all contrived by a so-called writer.
Much like any master writer , David Mitchell, a writer whose masterpiece Cloud Atlas deeply inspired my own magnum opus in works Chronosphere, has more than competently harnessed the skills of writing subtly, not ponderously, and he slowly springs a trap on us, as the unconventional enigmas of the Bone Clocks ensnares us into the story-captures us unawares- and leaves the reader falling deeper and deeper into the psychological landscape of the novel, until we are convinced that our very souls are making an ingress into the story itself. We will read about Holly Sykes, and fall irrevocably in love with her spunk, her tenacity, and her very dynamic personality. Forcefully, we will need to read slowly and fastidiously, contextualizing certain scenes and trying to understand these scenes in a larger story scheme, which does not become unraveled until our souls make an egress away from the story itself and back into our minds. From our minds, we will be swimming in a wide, seemingly endless ocean of poetic images, unforgettable characters, and loose fragments of emotions and dilemmas of the many characters, as seen through the eyes of Holly, who resonate deeply with us.
The Bone Clocks left such an indelible impression on my soul, my psyche, and my own writer’s heart with its own stalwart aspirations to weave a wholly different tale with the same depth and uncanny ability to really transform the three dimensional world we assume is reality. This is the power of David Mitchell’s writing, and I swear I might just start weeping unremittingly, in a week or so, as more insights about the nature of this story or its assumed overarching purpose and significance rears its head, unpredictably, like a Joycean epiphany. If you need a story that goes beyond the bounds of mortality, rational reasoning, genres, The Bone Clocks is an enigmatic story, which will deepen your idea of the extent of where art can take us both philosophically and psychologically, as active, conscious observers of the huge universe. And David Mitchell reminds us aspiring writers or daring readers that our story’s cosmologies should really do as the medieval mystics believed quality spirituality should achieve with adherents of a certain esoteric; it should tip our minds over into transcendence. In plain atheistic speech outstripped of religious or metaphysical undertones, good or competent art, like David Mitchell’s wonderful The Bone Clocks, should imbue the reader’s mind with an overall enhanced psychological vision of the deeper depths of the universe from without.
While everyone is poring over this novel for the next few days or so, I will be continuing to work on my own novel Chronosphere, as long as the elation imbibed from reading this novel, doesn’t suddenly taper away too quickly. Even though I should be writing some bit of criticism to make this review more nuanced, my only complaint is that this novel, easily my favorite of 2014, ended far too quickly, and it will be difficult to find anything to matches the visceral experience of reading this novel!! The Bone Clocks, as the name suggests, is a mesmerizing, decadent clock of a novel, that will chime in strange synchronization, as your mind sinks deeper and deeper into its pools of ineffably nourishing depths of refreshing nuance and mystery.
Oh, BTW, I totally am dedicating the first part of “Chronosphere” (my inter- and multi- dimensional English steampunk novel) to David Mitchell, who has now made me love the artistic wonders, intrinsic to great literature, two times now!!