Mid-Readalong Thoughts on The Bone Clocks #BoneClocks17

I’m three-quarters of the way through The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell, so if I don’t do a Mid-Readalong post soon, I’ll have to do a Wrap-Up post instead. It’s a good thing the #BoneClocks17 readalong was scheduled for a leisurely pace, because I’ve been at it for well over a month, interspersed with other reading. (I seem to remember I took forever to read Cloud Atlas, too!)

It’s a good book to read slowly because The Bone Clocks is all about time and the brevity of the human lifespan. There are naturally atemporal beings (resurrected souls) who never die, characters who die tragically young, and otherwise regular people who suffer from debilitating visions of the past and future. I don’t think I’m giving any spoilers here in this post, but it’s a discussion post, not a book review, so if you’re a paranoid, spoiler-averse reader like myself, be forewarned!

I’ve been reading The Bone Clocks in ebook format downloaded through the library, so I lost the notes and highlights from the first half of the book when the ebook loan expired (twice). There is a lot happening, and a lot to ponder on every page, so notes would have been helpful!

I knew nothing about The Bone Clocks going into the readalong. The only other book by David Mitchell that I’ve read is Cloud Atlas, which also has loosely connected stories widely separate in time and place and characters who appear in the periphery of other books. The Bone Clocks has an element of dark fantasy that I don’t recall from Cloud Atlas. After The Bone Clocks comes Slade House, (which I mistakenly thought came before, at the start of the readalong) and that has some recurring characters, too, I believe.

I also had been confusedly thinking that I’d read David Mitchell’s first novel before he was a well-known writer, which would have been Black Swan Green from 2006, but turns out I was mixing up my authors and was thinking of A Question of Attraction by David Nicholls from 2003. (Are there as many English novelists named David as there are American novelists named Jonathan, I wonder?)

The section of the book narrated by the literary enfant terrible character, Crispin Hershey, adds a metafictional aspect to the dark humor prevalent throughout The Bone Clocks, which over all, has a melancholy, rather than funny, I would say. (Being a good person in the time you have on earth is a good thing, but no one can really say why.)

Crispin Hershey’s later novels never sold as well as his first cult classic, Dessicated Embryos (referred to earlier in The Bone Clocks before readers meet Crispin Hershey) and he’s way beyond the deadline for turning the new novel about the lighthouse in Australia he’s under contract to his publisher for.

cover imageIn this passage from The Bone Clocks, Crispin is on the phone with his agent, Hal, desperately trying to avoid paying back the advance on the nonexistent next book, which sounds suspiciously like the The Bone Clocks:

“Where does the Australian lighthouse fit in?”

I take a deep breath. And another. “It doesn’t.”

Hal, I am fairly sure, is miming shooting himself.

“But this one’s got legs, Hal. A jet-lagged businessman has the mother of all breakdowns in a labyrinthine hotel in Shanghai, encounters a minister, a CEO, a cleaner, a psychic woman who hears voices” – gabbling garbling – “think Solaris meets Noam Chomsky via The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Add a dash of Twin Peaks…”

Hal is pouring himself a whisky and soda: Hear it fizz? His voice is flat and accusative: ‘Crispin. Are you trying to tell me that you’re writing a fantasy novel?’

‘Me? Never! Or it’s only one-third fantasy. Half, at most.’

‘A book can’t be half fantasy any more than a woman can be half pregnant. How many pages have you got?’

‘Oh, it’s humming along really well. About a hundred.’

‘Crispin. This is me. How many pages have you got?’

How does he always know? ‘Thirty – but the rest is all mapped out, I swear.’

Hal the Hyena exhales a sawtoothed groan. ‘Shitting Nora.’

Enjoying an unexpected day off due to the major nor’easter named Niko that blew in early this morning. I hope the storm doesn’t bring harm to anyone who has to go out in it today!

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I’m off to read other mid-Readalong posts now:

The Bone Clocks Readalong Part 1

The Bone Clocks Mid-Read Thoughts

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 2-6-17 #IMWAYR

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Now I’m no Laurel-Rain Snow keeping seven blogs up and running, but I DO maintain another blog, for our genre study group. I spent the morning updating it today, leaving me little time for this weekly “It’s Monday!” post!

We’re reading with an eye to diversity this year in our genre study group. So far we have talked about Graphic Novels (benchmark title = Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi) and Science Fiction (benchmark title = Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler). Our Romance discussion is coming up next week, so I am finishing up our benchmark title, The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith. I’m doing a combination audiobook and print reading of it, and enjoying it both ways!

Originally published in 1952, The Price of Salt is about a young woman not quite 20 years old (I think) who falls in love at first sight with an older woman. The main character Therese can appear naive on the outside, but is strong in her own mind and knows what has happened to her, even as she keeps the knowledge to herself and continues to see her boyfriend Richard, who has been patiently waiting for her to fall in love with him.

The Price of Salt was made into the movie, Carol, which I haven’t seen. Speaking of movies, though, I saw Hidden Figures last week, and wondered how different the movie was from the book. Does anyone know?

I’m still reading The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell. I’m on my third loan of the e-book through the library network, so very grateful for library funding from the state that helps make this possible for public libraries in Massachusetts!

Happy Monday!


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (#IMWAYR) is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It’s a great post to organize yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever-growing TBR pile! So welcome in, everyone. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at Book Date.

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 1-30-17 #IMWAYR

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I’m still reading Swing Time and The Bone Clocks! I realize they are taking me forever, but I am savoring them instead of devouring them. However, I need to pick up the pace with The Bone Clocks because the other #BoneClocks17 Readalong participants are way ahead of me!

So today I’m going to talk about my current audiobooks.

cover image of audiobook Memory ManI listened to Memory Man by David Baldacci last week because I have never tried reading one of his books and he is so popular at the library.

The main character in Memory Man, Amos Decker, has an altered brain due to an injury resulting in synesthesia and a photographic memory. In addition, he has suffered a hugely tragic loss, so he has the potential to be an interesting detective character and the book could go into some fascinating neuroscience digressions, but if you take away the action of the story, there’s not much else there, so I won’t be going on to #2 in the Amos Decker series (The Last Mile). Not right away, anyway.

Audiobook narrators Ron McLarty and Orlagh Cassidy are very good individually, and I like them both. but I didn’t like having Orlagh Cassidy pipe up only whenever a female character said something (even just in Amos Decker’s memory), when the bulk of the book was narrated by Ron McLarty. That was distracting!

cover image of audiobookThis week I’ll be listening to Wicked Autumn, an English village mystery, too dark to be a cozy, by G.M. Malliett, which is more my cuppa. The detective character, Max Tudor, is a tall, rangy, recently ordained Anglican priest who is a former MI5 agent. The village of Nether Monkslip, where he is the vicar, is full of promisingly quirky characters; one of whom is now dead. Next up will be A Fatal Winter (Max Tudor series, #2)!


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (#IMWAYR) is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It’s a great post to organize yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever-growing TBR pile! So welcome in, everyone. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at Book Date.

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