This is not a review of David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks.
I don’t even mean that in the self-consciously Magrittesque kind of way. If this were a review I’d tell you to read the book, or not, which I don’t plan to do. I mean, okay, for those of you who haven’t made up your minds on David Mitchell’s latest opus: while I had an excellent time on every individual page, the book landed strange for me, and this essay is me trying to figure out why. Asking “Should I read this book” is like asking “Should I take up power lifting?” or “Should I learn Chinese?” Answer: depending on your goals, your experience, your medical history, your ambitions, how much free time you have—Maybe?
I do, though, think this book succeeds at something really really cool and interesting, even if it fails as a unit. And the shape of this cool interesting thing challenges the goals and underlying structures of modern science fiction and fantasy—especially fantasy.
Because Mitchell’s written a fantasy novel. That point seems impossible to argue. His world contains immortals who teleport, throw fireballs around, and kill people with a thought. To call it anything else would be silly. And yet… Read More »