Run away, one drowsy summer’s afternoon, with Holly Sykes: wayward teenager, broken-hearted rebel and unwitting pawn in a titanic, hidden conflict.
Over six decades, the consequences of a moment’s impulse unfold, drawing an ordinary woman into a world far beyond her imagining. And as life in the near future turns perilous, the pledge she made to a stranger may become the key to her family’s survival . . .
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.
About the Author
David Mitchell is one of the most acclaimed authors of his generation. He has been shortlisted twice for the Man Booker Prize and longlisted four times, as well as won the John Llewellyn Rhys, Geoffrey Faber Memorial and South Bank Show Literature Prizes, and the Richard & Judy Best Read. He was also selected as one of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists in 2003 and named by Time as one of the world’s 100 most influential people in 2007. His previous novels are Ghostwritten, number9dream, Cloud Atlas, which was adapted for film in 2012, Black Swan Green and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet.
In this genre-bending, intricately plotted, multiply-narrated, stylistically audacious and thematically profound novel, David Mitchell tells the story of the life of Holly Sykes. In the course of telling that story, we move through fantastically rendered characters and the worlds they create and inhabit – past, present, and catastrophic future – and we also get a glimpse into a shadowy, timeless realm, one that exists behind the physical world that we “bone clocks” inhabit, where a perpetual battle between the forces for good and for evil is being waged.
A rich and inventive novel of epic proportions. Ranging from gritty realism to far out fantasy, it’s a novel full of surprises.
Simply a superb novel and a prime example of storyteller’s art. Mitchell can make even the more fantastic turns of events seem oddly realistic and entirely plausible. The many interweaving plots are expertly handled, and the bigger picture never gets blurred. A veritable page-turner, if there ever was one.