Getting back into the swing of things each week is hard. So is finding the quiet time to write a review over the weekend. In order to ease out of the weekend, I’ve decided to begin my blogging week with a mini review.
Several years ago I listened to The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet and loved every second of it. I bought The Bone Clocks in hardcover soon after it was released last fall. Like most books I buy, I never got the opportunity to read it. So, when it was nominated for an Audie Award in the Literary Fiction category I was thrilled. Since my local public library had the audiobook available, I lucked out and didn’t have to buy the book twice.
The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
Random House ~ September 2, 2014 ~ 640 pages
Recorded Books ~ Jessica Ball, Leon Williams, Colin Mace, Steven Crossley, Laurel Lefkow, and Anna Bentinck ~ 24 hours 30 minutes
I very much wanted to love this audiobook. My first David Mitchell audio experience was an amazing experience. Unfortunately, The Bone Clocks did not come close to that experience. I will be the first to admit that I did not fully understand all that was going on. I felt that there was a grand plan but it alluded me. While I connected with some of the individual characters and their stories, the overarching connections and how time bent and moved within the book made it difficult for me to follow. I went back into the printed book and there appeared to be visual clues to time shifts, but this wasn’t apparent during my listen. In this case, I don’t feel that the audiobook served the story.
With the exception of Anna Bentinck, this was my first experience with each of the narrators. While Jessica Ball’s performance of the teenage Holly was difficult for me to follow and made it that much harder for me to connect with this novel, I enjoyed the work of each of the other narrators. Each of the characters portrayed by the subsequent narrators interacted with Holly in some way. At first the differences in the way that Holly’s character was narrated was disconcerting because it felt like she was a completely different woman. After listening to Crispin Hershey’s story it occurred to me that in some ways Holly was different in that it was how these other characters perceived her. For me that was the most interesting aspect of the novel.
The Bone Clocks was a challenging listen for me. I normally don’t have this sort of difficulty in audio. In fact, I thoroughly enjoyed Weaveworld, a novel I found to be rather similar. I think I would have had a better experience with it had I read it in print, though I’m quite certain that it would not have replaced The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet as a favorite. This title will not get my Armchair Audies vote.