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The Bone Clocks

Folio Prize, 2015

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9780340921623

Price: £9.99

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Winner of the World Fantasy Award and longlisted for the Booker and Folio Prizes

‘A triumph’





The internationally bestselling novel from the author of Cloud Atlas, at once the kaleidoscopic story of an unusual woman’s life, a metaphysical thriller and a profound meditation on mortality and survival

Run away, one drowsy summer’s afternoon, with Holly Sykes: wayward teenager, broken-hearted rebel and unwitting pawn in a titanic, hidden conflict.

Over six decades, the consequences of a moment’s impulse unfold, drawing an ordinary woman into a world far beyond her imagining. And as life in the near future turns perilous, the pledge she made to a stranger may become the key to her family’s survival . . .


‘A thrilling and gifted writer’

‘Dizzyingly, dazzlingly good’

‘Mitchell is, clearly, a genius’

‘An author of extraordinary ambition and skill’

‘A superb storyteller’


No one, clearly, has ever told Mitchell that the novel is dead. He writes with a furious intensity and slapped-awake vitality, with a delight in language and all the rabbit holes of experience
Pico Iyer, New York Times Book Review
Mitchell's mesmerizing saga is evidence of the power of story to transport us, and even to stop time entirely
Vanity Fair
A divinely inventive author . . . This new novel offers up a rich selection of domestic realism, gothic fantasy and apocalyptic speculation, stretching around the world from the Margaret Thatcher era of the 1980s to the Endarkenment of 2043 . . . Some of these narrators are moving and sympathetic; others radiate the metastasizing creepiness of a Patricia Highsmith villain
Washington Post
Mitchell is a consummate craftsman . . . For sci-fi fantasists, the imaginary world Mitchell creates might be a thing of wonder, a Dungeons and Dragons for literate grown-ups. For others, I suspect the flesh and blood anguish of a long life lived well against the odds will prove the greater pleasure
With The Bone Clocks, Mitchell rises to meet and match the legacy of Cloud Atlas . . . interconnected lives stretch across time; human contact is both frightening and vital. This novel electrifyingly unites Mitchell's fictions into one universe while telling the story of Holly Sykes, an ordinary young woman whose chance encounters give her life meaning
Los Angeles Times
One of the most entertaining and thrilling novels I've read in a long time. Much of the entertainment comes from Mitchell's mastery over what feels like the entire world and all its inhabitants. Time keeps pulsing ahead in The Bone Clocks, and Mitchell pushes his cast of characters into the future, ending the book in a terrifying world. But for all the dystopia, and the mysticism, and the wild and clanging noise, and the flights of invention that have taken place in this extraordinary fun house of a novel, Mitchell's novel-writing rules allow him to retain his great sensitivity toward his main character from start to finish
Dazzling . . . Mitchell's heavy arsenal of talents is showcased in these pages: his symphonic imagination; his ventriloquist's ability to channel the voices of myriad characters from different time zones and cultures; his intuitive understanding of children and knack for capturing their solemnity and humor; and his ear for language - its rhythms, sounds and inflections
Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
Mitchell is writing about a mortal among immortals, and he never abandons the human half of the story: the fell swoop of first love, the labyrinth of silence where unhappy couples live, the clear cut inside a parent when a child goes missing, the chasm between frontline and home front in a nation at war . . . I was undone by the ending
New York Magazine
Is The Bone Clocks the most ambitious novel ever written, or just the most Mitchell-esque? . . . From gritty realism to far-out fantasy, each section has its own charm and surprises. With its wayward thoughts, chance meetings, and attention to detail, Mitchell's novel is a thing of beauty
Publishers Weekly
Another exacting, challenging and deeply rewarding novel from logophile and time-travel master Mitchell . . . If Thatcher's 1984 is bleak, then get a load of what awaits us in 2030. Speculative, lyrical and unrelentingly dark - trademark Mitchell, in other words
Kirkus Reviews
Every page fizzes with energy and humour. Wildly imaginative and truly magical, this is a big, chunky feast of a book
Sunday Mirror
If David Mitchell isn't the most talented novelist of his generation, is there any doubt that he is the most multi-talented? He is, at his best, a superior writer to Jonathan Franzen, a better storyteller than Michael Chabon, more wickedly clever than Jennifer Egan, nearly as fluent as Junot Diaz in multiple dialects, and as gifted as Alice Munro . . . [The Bone Clocks] offers everything you could possibly want from a conjurer at the height of his powers - a ludicrously ambitious, unstoppably clever epic told through a chorus of diverse narrators that is both outrageous in scope and meticulous in execution . . . The Bone Clocks affords its readers the singular gift of reading - the wish to stay put and to be nowhere else but here.
The Atlantic
With 600 pages of metafictional shenanigans in relentlessly brilliant prose, The Bone Clocks hits lots of hot buttons, from the horrors of the Iraq war to the Eternal Battle of Good and Evil to the near-future downfall of our civilisation . . . Death is at the heart of this novel. And there lies its depth and darkness, bravely concealed with all the wit and sleight of hand and ventriloquistic verbiage and tale-telling bravura of which Mitchell is a master . . . It's a whopper of a story.
Ursula K Le Guin, Guardian
I was completely blown away . . . Mitchell's first-class imagination delivers a complex and exciting premise that transcends into an incredibly explosive, surprising, intelligent, dark and magical story
At once a gripping thriller and a far-out fantasy, a brilliant mash-up that pulsates with energy, satire and wit
If I could file a review that consisted only of the word "wow" 900 times over, it still wouldn't quite capture my delirious response to David Mitchell's stunning, funny, sad, prophetic, fantastical, satirical, achingly real and gloriously fictitious new novel
It's massively bold and ambitious, but also thoroughly readable, funny and moving
Intellectually rigorous and stunningly imaginative . . . a rich and dense, inventive and witty thriller
Daily Express
Our most accomplished inventor of multitudinous worlds, which are filled with complex, vital people . . . The Bone Clocks features a gyre-works inventiveness that's well matched by (bizarrely) cerebral substance . . . his most sinewy, fine and full book to date, a Mobius strip-tripping great novel that will reward bleary-eyed rereading
Randy Boyagoda, Financial Times
The overwhelming impression is of an author at the height of his powers precisely because of a deep and intuitive understanding and curiosity of what it is about to live a life as a human being.
Oxford Student
Fantastical, ambitious, bold and exuberant
Viv Groskop, Books of the Year, Observer
A return to the exuberance and genre-hopping of Cloud Atlas, and a proper page-turner
Stephanie Merritt, Books of the Year, Observer
An extraordinary piece of storytelling
Books of the Year, Evening Standard
Combines fantastic inventiveness with depth and heart
Books of the Year, Guardian
A mind-spinning, genre-splicing time-travelling epic
Independent on Sunday
One of the most entertaining and thrilling novels I've read in a long time . . . an extraordinary fun house of a novel
Meg Wolitzer, NPR
A ludicrously ambitious, unstoppably clever epic told through a chorus of diverse narrators that is both outrageous in scope and meticulous in execution
The Atlantic
600 pages of metafictional shenanigans in relentlessly brilliant prose . . . Death is at the heart of this novel. And there lies its depth and darkness, bravely concealed with all the wit and sleight of hand and ventriloquistic verbiage and tale-telling bravura of which Mitchell is a master . . . It's a whopper of a story
Ursula K. Le Guin, Guardian
Wild, funny, terrifying . . . a slipstream masterpiece all its own
Great fun . . . a tour de force
San Francisco Chronicle
Mitchell is one of the most electric writers alive. To open a Mitchell book is to set forth on an adventure . . . In his latest novel, The Bone Clocks, Mitchell has spun his most far-flung tale yet . . . Strange and magical
Boston Globe
Magical . . . [it] perfectly illustrates the idea that we're all the heroes of our own lives as well as single cogs in a much larger and more beautiful mechanism
Entertainment Weekly
Mind-bendingly ambitious . . . The force of [Mitchell's] storytelling makes The Bone Clocks a joy
Great story, great words, all good
Stephen King
Mitchell is a superb storyteller . . . One of the reasons he is such a popular and critically lauded writer is that he combines both the giddy, freewheeling ceaselessness of the pure storyteller with the grounded realism of the humanist. There's something for everyone, traditionalist or postmodernist, realist or fantasist
New Yorker
Deeply meaningful . . . The Bone Clocks has everything you might expect to find in a David Mitchell novel: Great characters in settings far-flung over space and time, all tied together by ambitious ideas and gorgeous writing
A sweeping epic . . . that, like Cloud Atlas, spans the ages and tinkers with the hidden gears of human history
An epic in many voices . . . a globe-trotting, mind-bending, hair-raising triumph
He is funny, hip and full of life . . . a beautiful explosion of adventurous ideas
The Times
An epic read
Evening Standard
If only real life were as elegant and generally encouraging as a Mitchell novel! He writes with scintillating verve and abundance
Daily Telegraph