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The Bone Clocks

Length: 24 hrs and 29 mins
Categories: Fiction, Literary
4 out of 5 stars (159 ratings)

Non-member price: $48.86

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Publisher's Summary

One summer's day in 1984, teenage runaway Holly Sykes encounters a strange woman who offers a small kindness in exchange for 'asylum'. Decades will pass before Holly understands what sort of asylum the woman was seeking.…

The Bone Clocks follows Holly's life: not so far out of the ordinary, yet punctuated by flashes of precognition, visits from people who emerge from thin air, and brief lapses in the laws of reality.

©2014 David Mitchell (P)2014 W F Howes Ltd

Critic Reviews

"No other British novelist, to my mind, combines such a darkly futuristic intelligence with such polyphonic ease." ( Sunday Times)
"Open up Mitchell's head and a whole magical, ecstatic symphony of inventiveness and ideas will fly out as if from a benign and felicitous Pandora's box. Read him." ( The Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jocelyn
  • Central Coast, NSW
  • 30-08-2015

Interesting and captivating!

This was a very cleverly written book so interesting and intertwined over the space of time. I thoroughly enjoyed how the characters personalities came to life especially Holly Sykes and how clues were given in small doses so the listener can enjoy the 'ah ha!' moment throughout the book. A definite good book to listen to on the way to work, I found myself listening in the garage at times when I just didn't want the chapter to end!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Addictively brilliant!

A really wonderful book... With each change of narrator I felt a pang of loss but soon became so engrossed with the next! After a bit of a slow start all I really warmed to all the narrators. My husband and I would deliberately drive home the long way so we could listen to more

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it. Story telling at it's finest.

Great book. Excellent storyline. Engaging characters. Outstanding narration. Enjoyed every minute of it. After this book I am going to buy Cloud Atlas by the same author just because I enjoyed this one so much.

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    5 out of 5 stars

No words.

Amazing story superbly told. First book by this author, and I can't wait for more.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Another winner from David Mitchell

I had enjoyed the Cloud Atlas so much that I had to get this one as well. This one is just as good and I must admit it kept me up all night with the twists and turns of plot

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  • Patrick
  • Annandale, Sydney
  • 19-01-2018

Should have done more homework...

Proof that literary enjoyment is - like art - highly subjective. Some might like this book. For me it was 24 hours of my life I can’t get back.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

unique storyline

An interesting premise with just enough strangeness to keep it going but some of the sub-stories dragged on far longer than necessary and some backplots got quite confusing

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Excellent story

This is excellent story spanning a life span with a well directed story.

Have listened twice and still getting a different perspective for the story.

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Excellent, excellent, excellent

I loved this book. Each narrator was perfect for their part. Great, unexpected story. I highy recommend The Bone Clocks.

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Great Book

One of my favourites for 2016!!
Highly recommended
David Mitchell at his best
Please enjoy

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  • Elena
  • 24-01-2018

What a lovely book

Such an amazing, heartbreaking, uplifting, and rememberable book. Definitely a story I will want to return to. Mitchell's books always have the same effect on me, in the beginning it takes a moment to get into the story but once it happens I don't wanna stop. He has a way of creating such wonderful and realistic characters. Recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Grace
  • 28-02-2015

Great listen!

From the first to the last sentence - it was a joy to listen, and i wished it could go on for much longer.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mayra
  • 15-04-2017

"Loved it" is too minor a term

Beautifully poetic, intricately woven and delicately told. This was my first Mitchell book and will be buying all others in the hopes they can live up to this beautiful story. I'll keep Holly in my heart forever. Also a great "thank you" to the narrators, every single one was as good as the previous and they were perfectly cast to fit their persona. One always wants more from a story they love, but the closing words left me satisfied and joyful.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Liesl
  • 18-11-2016

bloody brilliant

narration superb...story sublime...haunting images of apocalyptic earth sent my imagination wild...Mitchell is a master of literal teleporting

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Daniel
  • 14-07-2016

loved it

loved every second of this book. and i really like how there are different narrators for each "part" of the book.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • mgn
  • 02-08-2015

Disappointing final 20%

The last ten chapters lets it down. So boring. So long. The earlier chapters covering various Earthlings were wonderful. I looked forward to my daily walk so I could listen to the next part of the book. It held together, was interesting and well written. The last portion of the book had no pace. Impossible to get into. It's rare for the end of the book not to hold the reader engaged. This was it for me.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Andy Parsons
  • 24-09-2014

Sodding marvellous

It is the best four or five things I have ever heard. Six novellas with at least two over arching narratives. Another tour de force in form and execution, rather like the wonderful Cloud Atlas starting in the past and moving through time into the near then distant future.

Each of the episodes was compelling with vivid characters and a gripping story, I was so reluctant to turn it off every day as I got to work and on my return journey home.

Holly is a wonderful character and appears centrally in the first and last episodes. Her journey through a life that could only have been created in David Mitchell's kaleidoscopic imagination, turns her from nieve teenager to wise old woman by utterly believable yet fantastic degrees.

If. I have any criticism it is the problem that arises from Holly's voice, it is so different from reader to reader that it jars. Given the versatility of the readers I suspect that they could have made it a little more consistent had the producers worked at it a little more. That said the first and last episodes are in her voice and the readers do acheive believable continuity we could have done with throughout.

The themes are too numerous to count but I loved the exploration of ageing and the old living in and on and through the young. These themes and others are explored at many levels and through the book's endless layers, and you can enjoy it as just a series of witty gripping stories at the same time.

Don't hesitate it will be some of the best 24 hours of your life! I might be overselling it a bit but as you may have noticed I loved it!

79 of 83 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • S. Hunt
  • 09-09-2015

Too many different readers

Any additional comments?

Good story.

Too many readers. All with different styles for reading the same characters. One lead goes from quite posh to working class to middle class to working class. At least gather the readers together to emphasize an overall style of reading!

24 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Craig
  • 25-04-2015

Not bad. Accents of narrators was terrible though

Parts of this story could have been shortened or removed altogether. It went from mundane to over complex. Not at all 'gripping'. Just plodded along. Finished it to see if it got better but it didn't and ended a bit flat. The County Cork, Irish accents by the narrator sounded more Ulster than South West Ireland and the Essex accent by the American narrator was more Oxford English. Very poor narration in parts.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Brad Sutherland
  • 16-04-2019

Truly awful

This is barely a novel. I listened to half, mostly out of curiosity of when the story would begin. It is basically a series of novellas loosely connected in parts but with the author having his narrators going off on tangents to discuss subjects of interest to the author. At parts it employs elements of fantasy/mysticism but these seem to be included more to market the book as a novel rather than what it is: A collection of rather boring novellas.
On the plus side the first narrator is excellent, she prevented me from returning the book after the first hour.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Tanny
  • 10-03-2019

What a slog!

Finally finished it! I've tried to get into this book on several attempts over many months. I've finished it once & once was one time to much!!
It feels like a few novellas strong together. I waited for them to make one impressive story but it never happened. Flip-flop ping between characters, times & who was speaking in 1st tense was confusing and felt gimmicky rather than adding to the plot. Will not be trying anything from the author again. Will be asking Audio for a refund cos this book will never make it to my virtual bookshelf :( The only good thing was the narration.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Laura
  • 10-12-2014

Beautifully Written.

Would you listen to The Bone Clocks again? Why?

I definitely would, though nothing would be as good as the first time listening. When newly read, you're constantly thinking about what's going to happen next and you'll get lost in all the knooks and crannies.

What did you like best about this story?

I can't quite put my finger on it. It was just so immersing. I loved how it was written, this book is so complicated but not once (rare for me) did I get confused.

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

I really liked that each character had their own narrator, I felt a lot more empathy for each character because of it.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

There were so many! The ending was very moving for me but I don't want to give the story away.

Any additional comments?

If you want a book that's going to pull you in and keep you there then I'd definitely give this a go.

22 of 26 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Karen
  • 19-10-2014

Loved it

I loved this book. I am not a particular fan of science fiction type books, and some parts of the book remain a mystery to me, but the characters were so engaging that i could not stop listening. Very well written. Several weeks since I finished the book I am still missing Holly Sykes. As for the 'meaning of 'Bone Clock' - such a clever description, I think that will always stay with me.

21 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • T
  • 10-09-2014

Rich in invention and wit, another tour de force

David Mitchell's writing is amongst the very best of his generation and I love it. Those who are already fans should, like me, be delighted. New readers should find Bone Clocks easier to get into than the recently filmed Cloud Atlas. There are nods in this book to Black Swan Green and Thousand Autumns, also warmly recommended, as indeed are all his books in their unabridged forms. The 24+ hours of this audiobook have flown by for me and I have enjoyed all of it. very much

This epic starts in 1984 Kent and some sections/narratives follow the central character of Holly through to a dystopian 2140 Ireland. But Holly is not the only character to be given great depth of personality by the unfolding story. My favourite is perhaps Crispin, whose contribution to this literary roller-coaster ride is so rich in humour that I know I was missing some of it. We learn much about Crispin from his curmudgeonly ways, so the humour has purpose and there are wry observations to enjoy throughout the book.

Each section of the book has a different narrator, which overall works well in differentiating viewpoints as well as the passage of time and place. Quality of the narration is generally very good, though not without some typical errors of emphasis in sight-reading and a couple of excruciating mispronunciations . Frequent audiobook listeners will have learned to deal with such occasional irritations and should not be put off from a thoroughly enjoyable book from a master of his craft.

28 of 34 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Robyn
  • 21-03-2016

Not for me

Can't quite put my finger on why I disliked this book so much. All the themes were exactly my normal kind of thing - and some really great new ideas. Well written, if occasionally a bit slow. But I think there were just too many gaping holes in this for me. My book club gave it a definite thumbs down - and turned to me expecting me to disagree (I'm always the odd one out because of my love of Sci-Fi and fantasy), but unfortunately, I agreed with them this time.

Almost a year after reading this, the one thing that has stuck with me is that solar panels will be the most sought after resource come the apocalypse when the rest of the world stops functioning and we have run out of the normal fuels. And then it'll be a case of "he who has the biggest gun will get the most panels"! Given the theme of the book, I'm not sure that was supposed to be my take-away.....so there you have it. Not particularly successful for me.

14 of 17 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Bookish
  • 30-11-2014

A fascinating blend of styles.

Would you listen to The Bone Clocks again? Why?

Modern fiction, science fiction and futuristic dystopia. David Mitchell weaves a vast and complex tale held together by strongly drawn individual characters. Each section is told by a different narrator.

What did you like best about this story?

The unfolding plot held my attention all the way through, complex but never confusing. I loved the science fiction concept of a hidden war being carried out under our noses.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

The narration was mostly excellent, my only criticism was that the narrators didn't keep continuity in the way some characters spoke. Holly Sykes, one of the key characters, is an Essex girl of high intelligence and one of the male narrators makes her sound like an hysterical fishwife, her accent is different with each narrator and her character gets lost in some of the sections because of this.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I didn't manage one sitting but when I found myself at home with a cold I listened to the second half without stopping.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful