I am about three quarters of the way through the new David Mitchell book, The Bone Clocks. Although there is always the possibility that Mitchell won’t land the ending, and the ending of anything matters, so far I can’t help but feel this book is a masterpiece. At different times throughout the journey I was highly engrossed in an extremely realistic description of a journalist in the Iraq War, the life of a serf in Tsarist Russian, a dark comedy featuring a modern writer, and science fiction action scenes that seemed as if they came out of a blockbuster movie. Those are just a few of the different styles and perspectives that Mitchell weaves seamlessly in this book.
Although I can’t claim to know exactly what goes on in Mitchell’s head, I feel that after reading all of his books, except for the small amount of this one to go, that there is a purpose to all of these different styles and characters. I think Mitchell understands that the only tribe that matters is the human race. Most of the time when human beings treat each other poorly, it is because they put their tribe first. That tribe can be a political, religious, or ethnic tribe. It is seeing themselves as being more important than someone else. It is the ability to not be able to imagine oneself in another’s shoes, to feel enough empathy. Mitchell takes us inside the head of many different kinds of people and he does so using many literary techniques.
Again, I want to hold off final judgment until I finish the book, but Mitchell might have just painted a masterpiece. Mitchell uses many of the the same techniques that brought him such acclaim in Cloud Atlas, but if anything this book might actually might be more entertaining from story one. I can’t put it down, and haven’t been able to since I started. Stay tuned for more about this book in the future, but you might want to check it out yourself in the meantime.