Four stars, read in January 2016.
There is significant potential for David Mitchell to be one of my favorite authors as I continue reading his books. I didn’t love this quite as much as I did Cloud Atlas, but it was a book I relished reading nonetheless.
I gave it four stars on Goodreads; for the first half of the book I would have rated it five stars, but I didn’t like Marinus’s section as much as Holly’s, Ed’s, even Hugo’s—the voice was far less engaging, and somehow less coherent—and I am still not sure what Crispin Hershey and Richard Cheeseman had to do with anything. I’m so glad it ends up with Holly again, even if that future was bleak and terrifying in a very real way. I liked the worldbuilding, the concept of the Horologists and the Anchorites, with one exception: “subspeak,” sure, I can get used to it, but “subreplied,” “submentioned,” “subworried”—it was a little too much.
I put my hand on the altar rail. “What if… what if Heaven is real, but only in moments? Like a glass of water on a hot day when you’re dying of thirst, or when someone’s nice to you for no reason, or…” Mam’s pancakes with Toblerone sauce; Dad dashing up from the bar just to tell me, “Sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite”; or Jacko and Sharon singing “For She’s A Squishy Marshmallow” instead of “For She’s A Jolly Good Fellow” every single birthday and wetting themselves even though it’s not at all funny; and Brendan giving his old record player to me instead of one of his mates. “S’pose Heaven’s not like a painting that’s just hanging there for ever, but more like… Like the best song anyone ever wrote, but a song you only catch in snatches, while you’re alive, from passing cars, or… upstairs windows when you’re lost…”