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Excerpt from The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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The Bone Clocks

A Novel

by David Mitchell

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell X
The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2014, 640 pages

    Jun 2015, 656 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Poornima Apte
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Print Excerpt

Bunting's strung across Queen Street, like it's for Holly Sykes's Independence Day. The Scottish lady in the wool shop's watering her hanging baskets, and Mr. Gilbert the jeweler's putting trays of rings into his front windows, and Mike and Todd the butchers're offloading a headless pig from the back of a van where a dozen carcasses are hanging from hooks. Outside the library a bunch of union men are collecting money in buckets for the striking miners with Socialist Workers holding signs saying coal not dole and THATCHER DECLARES WAR ON THE WORKERS. Ed Brubeck's freewheeling this way on his bike. I step into the Indoor Market so he can't see me. He moved to Gravesend last year from Manchester, where his dad got sent down for burglary and assault. He doesn't have any friends and shows no sign of wanting any. Normally that'd get you crucified at our school, but when a sixth-former had a go at him Brubeck punched his nose out of shape, so he's been left alone since. He cycles by without seeing me, a fishing rod tied to his crossbar, and I carry on. By the games arcade a busker's playing funeral music on a clarinet. Someone lobs a coin into his case and he bursts into the theme from Dallas. When I get to Magic Bus Records I peer inside. I was looking at R for Ramones. Vinny says he was looking at H for Hot and Horny and Holly. There's a few secondhand guitars along the back of the shop, too. Vin can play the intro to "Stairway to Heaven," though he's never got past that. I'm going to teach myself to play Vin's guitar while he's at work. Vin and me could start a band. Why not? Tina Weymouth's a girl and she's the bassist in Talking Heads. Imagine Mam's face if she goes all, "She's not my daughter anymore," then sees me on Top of the Pops. Mam's problem's that she's never loved anyone as deeply as me and Vin love each other. She gets on okay with Dad, sure, though all her family in Cork were never crazy about him not being Irish and Catholic. My older Irish cousins enjoyed telling me that Dad got Mum pregnant with Brendan before they were married, but they've been married for twenty-five years now, which isn't bad going, I s'pose, but still, Mam's not got this amazing bond with Dad like me and Vin. Stella says me and Vin are soul mates. She says it's obvious, we're made for each other.

Outside NatWest Bank on Milton Road, I run into Brendan. Moussed-back hair, paisley tie, and his blazer slung over his shoulder, you'd think he was off to Handsome School, not the offices of Stott and Conway. Bit of a heartthrob is my older brother, among my friends' older sisters—pass me the vomit bucket. He married Ruth, his boss Mr. Conway's daughter, at the town hall with a flashy reception at the Chaucer Country Club. I wasn't a bridesmaid 'cause I don't wear dresses, specially dresses that make you look like a Gone with the Wind collectible, so Sharon and Ruth's nieces did all that stuff, and loads of our Cork relatives came over. Brendan's Mam's golden boy and Mam's Brendan's golden mam. Later they'll be poring over every detail of what I say right now.

"Morning," I tell him. "How's it going?"

"Can't complain. All well at the Captain?"

"Fine. Mam's full of the joys of spring today."

"Yeah?" Brendan smiles, puzzled. "How come?"

I shrug. "Must've got out on the right side of bed."

"Cool." He notices my duffel bag. "Off on a trip, are we?"

"Not exactly. I'm revising French at Stella Yearwood's—then I'm staying overnight. It's exams next week."

My brother looks impressed. "Good for you, little sis."

"Is Ruth any better?"

"Not a lot. God only knows why it's called 'morning sickness' when it's worse in the middle of the night."

"Perhaps it's Mother Nature's way of toughening you up for when the baby arrives," I suggest. "All those sleepless nights, the arguing, the puke ... Needs stamina."

Excerpted from The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell. Copyright © 2014 by David Mitchell. Excerpted by permission of Random House. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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