Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Bone Clocks

by David Mitchell

A classic tale of good vs. evil, with Mitchell's trademarks of plot complexity and interwoven multiple narratives, reprising themes of immortal souls and reincarnation from Cloud Atlas. The thrilling plot is at times excruciatingly, exquisitely drawn out and had me reading late into the night.

Unlike the more suggestive Cloud Atlas, in this book the reincarnation (and discarnation, if that's a thing) is explicit, so the story is less realistic — not that Cloud Atlas was all that realistic, but perhaps its imagined futures and pasts were more superficially plausible. Mysticism might be a good description for what's happening here, but nothing typically religious or New Age-y, though one important character/plot point does have ties to organized religion.

At times I almost wished I were reading an e-book so it would have been easier to re-trace the references from later in the book to things I remembered from earlier chapters. A lot of hints are dropped, and the author keeps quite a few balls in the air, so it could be a challenging read, but it's also very satisfying.

I don't recall if I'd realized it at the time, but just now reading a review of another of Mitchell's books, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet, I realized that it and The Bone Clocks both have the same character named Marinus. I'm sure there must have been sly links to Cloud Atlas as well, and I'd like to think I would have detected them, but imperfect memory is one of the pitfalls of not writing reviews right away.

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