My rating: 2 of 5 stars
No writer should be expected to repeat tricks or jump through hoops, it is a shame then when writers do this to themselves.
Perhaps The Bone Clocks is set in the same world as Cloud Atlas but, even if so, it feels a book very far from its predecessor. In structure, in vocabulary, and in theme, The Bone Clocks is far looser and far less timeless than Cloud Atlas – The Bone Clocks has Justin Bieber references in it, making it…not exactly a classic.
Foregoing the populist approach and despite the enjoyable flights of fancy in character and wording that Mitchell takes, my main problem with The Bone Clocks is a lack of good editing. This lack shows in the way characters overshadow the rhythm of storytelling. When I can tell what’s coming and it doesn’t happen for 20 pages because of a flashback or a detour – especially near the end [which happens twice] – I just wish he’d get on with it. Of course, a good editor would have told him to and not given so much free reign.
That’s right, I am a writer bemoaning the lack of an editor in the 21st Century’s exponential rise of self-publishing. Perhaps I’m bemoaning the fact that I respect Mr Mitchell but this book is neither “genius” nor does it prove him a “consummate craftsman” as the reviews would have you believe.
I had no idea what to expect with this book, having only read Black Swan Green and a few of his short stories in the years after Cloud Atlas, but I found myself disappointed.