The Bone Clocks

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Bone Clocks
Author David Mitchell
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Drama
Publisher Sceptre
Publication date
2 September 2014 [1]
Media type Print (Hardback)
ISBN 978-0-340-92160-9
Preceded by The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

The Bone Clocks is David Mitchell's sixth novel. It has been long-listed for the Man Booker Prize 2014. [2]


The outline of the plot was provided by Mitchell's publisher, Sceptre: "In 1984, teenager Holly Sykes runs away from home, a Gravesend pub. Sixty years later, she is to be found in the far west of Ireland, raising a granddaughter as the world's climate collapses. In between, Holly is encountered as a barmaid in a Swiss resort by an undergraduate sociopath in 1991; has a child with a foreign correspondent covering the Iraq War in 2003; and, widowed, becomes the confidante of a self-obsessed author of fading powers and reputation during the present decade. Yet these changing personae are only part of the story, as Holly’s life is repeatedly intersected by a slow-motion war between a cult of predatory soul-decanters and a band of vigilantes led by one Doctor Marinus. Holly begins as an unwitting pawn in this war – but may prove to be its decisive weapon." [3]

Allusions/references to other works[edit]

The Bone Clocks contains characters from other works by Mitchell, following precedents set in his earlier novels. In interviews leading up to the release of this novel, Mitchell described this shared universe as an "uber-novel". [4]

  • Hugo Lamb, one of the novel's narrators, appears as a boy in Black Swan Green, in which he is the protagonist Jason Taylor's cousin. The character Alan Wall also appears in Black Swan Green.
  • There are mentions of Spyglass Magazine and the writer Felix Finch, both featured in Cloud Atlas.
  • Crispin Hershey, another of the novel's narrators, is ostensibly the author of The Voorman Problem, an excerpt from number9dream, as well as the writer of a work whose plot seems identical to The Siphoners, a short story written by David Mitchell, which in turns seems to be the same pre-apocalyptic universe described in the last section of the book.
  • The soul of Dr. Marinus from The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet is revealed to be capable of reincarnation, and is another of the novel's narrators, mostly as Dr. Iris Fenby. This particular incarnation of Marinus actually appeared in David Mitchell's libretto for Michel Van der Aa's opera Sunken Garden, which David Mitchell said served as a "prologue" to the Bone Clocks.
  • Elijah D'Arnoq, another "Atemporal" like Dr. Marinus, is implied to be the same character as Mr. D'Arnoq of the Chatham Islands in the first segment of Cloud Atlas.
  • Mo Muntervary, a physicist who first appeared in Ghostwritten, is a secondary character in the last of this novel's sections.


  1. ^ "The Bone Clocks". Retrieved 2014-08-03. 
  2. ^ "The Bone Clocks". Man Booker Website. Retrieved 2014-08-03. 
  3. ^ "The Bone Clocks". Curtis Brown. Retrieved 2014-04-10. 
  4. ^ "In Bone Clocks, David Mitchell ties his universes together". LA Times. Retrieved 2014-09-06.