Sceptre has announced that David Mitchell will publish his new novel on 4 September 2014. The Bone Clocks is Mitchell’s sixth novel, his first since 2010’s The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. A Dutch interview with Mitchell from earlier this year contained the assertion that The Sunken Garden – his 2013 collaboration with English National Opera – acts as ‘a kind of prologue’ to the novel.
Certainly, the blurb published by Sceptre makes it all sound like business as usual for Mitchell, with a time-hopping plot spanning decades and elements of genre on the fringes as it follows one Holly Sykes, a young runaway, from 1984 through to the mid 21st century, where the world’s climate collapses around her: ‘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.’
The novel also contains a detour into what sounds like something close to Stephen King territory, with The Bookseller describing all this as taking place in the midst of ‘a slow-motion war between a cult of predatory soul-decanters and a band of vigilantes.’ Sceptre summates by calling it ‘The arc of a life, a social seismograph, a fantasy of shadows and an inquiry into aging, mortality and survival’ or, in other words, from the author of Cloud Atlas.
Mitchell published his first novel, Ghostwritten, in 1999. His following two novels – 2001’s number9dream and 2004’s Cloud Atlas – were both nominated for the Booker Prize, with the latter filmed by the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer with Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Jim Broadbent and Ben Whishaw in 2012. Earlier this year, he and his wife published an English translation of The Reason I Jump: One Boy’s Voice from the Silence of Autism, a book by autistic Japanese teenager Naoki Higashida.
He was chief hack and music editor of webzine Brazen from 2006 to 2010, and hosted Left of the Dial on Subcity Radio from 2008 to 2011.
He can be heard semi-regularly on the podcast of Scottish cultural blog Scots Whay Hae ('20th best website in Scotland!' - The List), and in 2011 founded Seen Your Video, a film and music podcast and blog based in Glasgow. He has a Masters degree in Scottish Literature from the University of Glasgow that will never have any practical application. You are on a hiding to nothing if you follow him on Twitter expecting any kind of hot publishing scoop.