One day in 1984, Holly Sykes has a meltdown with her mum over a bad-boy boyfriend and runs away, heading into a world that’s more complicated, dangerous and wondrous than she ever expected.
We follow the twists and turns of Holly’s life, and by the time she’s middle-aged she’s a mother, a widow and a well-known author who has come to terms with the voices she’s heard in her head since childhood. On the surface this is an eloquent, engaging account of a woman’s life as she finds her place in the world.
But this is a novel by David Mitchell, and that’s far from the whole story. In a recklessly ambitious move, Holly is at the centre of a battle for the future of the planet. Yes, it could be described as fantasy, but Mitchell’s storytelling is so inventive and insightful that borders between the ‘real’ world and sci-fi are spellbinding.
The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell (Sceptre, £20)