Okay, I’ve been putting off writing anything about David Mitchell’s highly anticipated new book The Bone Clocks and you’ll see why. People have been clamoring for this novel all year, including me. I like to think of myself as an early adopter of Mitchell. I loved Ghostwritten and the slightly but only slightly less good Number9Dream so much when I was buying for Harvard Book Store that our lovely Random House rep gave me an early ARC of Cloud Atlas. After reading it, I begged them to send David Mitchell to Harvard Book Store for an event, which they did. And I spent most of Spring foaming at the mouth, waiting for The Bone Clocks. Yes, I sound like a drug addict, waiting for my book connection to hook me up.
I read The Bone Clocks on the long round trip train ride to New York in July. Engrossing, check. Great and memorable main character, check. gifted writing that makes one jealous, check. Studded with references to prior works, check? Dialogue straight out of an action movie…wait, what the hell is going on here?
The fifth of the six sections really interrupted threw me off with its cheesy action/science fiction. By the time the sixth section came, I had lost the warm fuzzy feelings one gets from diving into a book this long. And while the sixth section returned to better form, it was too late. Ron Charles’s review on Wednesday and Michiko Kakutani’s review from Tuesday. I can’t believe I’m agreeing with Kakutani on this, but I do. I was a bit disappointed. While I wanted to love this book, in the end I just liked it a lot.
I’ve been muddling over my own thoughts about this book and hope to get them to coagulate this weekend. Unlike you, I’ve never read David Mitchell before, so I didn’t have any notions of what to expect of this one. I had trouble with parts of it, but mostly I thought it was a wonderful ride.