30+ quotes from The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

Quotes from The Bone Clocks

David Mitchell ·  624 pages

Rating: (70.4K votes)


“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 ...”
― David Mitchell, quote from The Bone Clocks


“Being born's a hell of a lottery.”
― David Mitchell, quote from The Bone Clocks


“People are icebergs, with just a bit you can see and loads you can’t.”
― David Mitchell, quote from The Bone Clocks


“We live on, as long as there are people to live on in.”
― David Mitchell, quote from The Bone Clocks


“A writer flirts with schizophrenia, nurtures synesthesia, and embraces obsessive-compulsive disorder. Your art feeds on you, your soul, and, yes, to a degree, your sanity. Writing novels worth reading will bugger up your mind, jeopardize your relationships, and distend your life. You have been warned.”
― David Mitchell, quote from The Bone Clocks


“Love's pure free joy when it works, but when it goes bad you pay for the good hours at loan-shark prices.”
― David Mitchell, quote from The Bone Clocks


“I'd love to know how Dad saw me when I was 6. I'd love to know a hundred things. When a parent dies, a filing cabinet full of all the fascinating stuff also ceases to exist. I never imagined how hungry I'd be one day to look inside it.”
― David Mitchell, quote from The Bone Clocks


“Human cruelty can be infinite. Human generosity can be boundless.”
― David Mitchell, quote from The Bone Clocks


“This isn’t lust. Lust wants, does the obvious, and pads back into the forest. Love is greedier. Love wants round-the-clock care; protection; rings, vows, joint accounts; scented candles on birthdays; life insurance. Babies. Love’s a dictator.”
― David Mitchell, quote from The Bone Clocks


“Power is lost or won, never created or destroyed. Power is a visitor to, not a possession of, those it empowers. The mad tend to crave it, many of the sane crave it, but the wise worry about its long-term side effects. Power is crack cocaine for your ego and battery acid for your soul. Power’s comings and goings, from host to host, via war, marriage, ballot box, diktat, and accident of birth, are the plot of history. The empowered may serve justice, remodel the Earth, transform lush nations into smoking battlefields, and bring down skyscrapers, but power itself is amoral.” Immaculée Constantin now looks up at me. “Power will notice you. Power is watching you now. Carry on as you are, and power will favor you. But power will also laugh at you, mercilessly, as you lie dying in a private clinic, a few fleeting decades from now. Power mocks all its illustrious favorites as they lie dying. ‘Imperious Caesar, dead and turn’d to clay, might stop a hole to keep the wind away.”
― David Mitchell, quote from The Bone Clocks


“Her only friends on the estate were books, and books can talk but do not listen.”
― David Mitchell, quote from The Bone Clocks


“if you could reason with religious people, there wouldn’t be any religious people.”
― David Mitchell, quote from The Bone Clocks


“There's a link between bigotry and bad spelling.”
― David Mitchell, quote from The Bone Clocks


“While the wealthy are no more likely to be born stupid than the poor, a wealthy upbringing compounds stupidity while a hardscrabble childhood dilutes it, if only for Darwinian reasons. This is why the elite need a prophylactic barrier of shitty state schools, to prevent the clever kids from the working-class post codes ousting them from the Enclave of Privilege.”
― David Mitchell, quote from The Bone Clocks


“... Modesty is Vanity's craftier stepbrother.”
― David Mitchell, quote from The Bone Clocks


“If an atrocity isn't written about, it stops existing when the last witnesses die. That's what I can't stand. If a mass shooting, a bomb, a whatever, is written about, then at least it's made a tiny dent in the world's memory. Someone, somewhere, some time, has a chance of learning what happened. And, just maybe, acting on it. Or not. But at least it's there.”
― David Mitchell, quote from The Bone Clocks


“He was doing quite well until the last sentence, but if you bare your arse to a vengeful unicorn, the number of possible outcomes dwindles to one.”
― David Mitchell, quote from The Bone Clocks


“If life didn’t change, it wouldn’t be life, it’d be a photograph.”
― David Mitchell, quote from The Bone Clocks


“Persuasion is not about force; it's about showing a person a door, and making him or her desperate to open it.”
― David Mitchell, quote from The Bone Clocks


“I think about pinball, and how being a kid’s like being shot up the firing lane and there’s no veering left or right; or you’re just sort of propelled. But once you clear the top, like when you’re sixteen, seventeen, or eighteen, suddenly there’s a thousand different paths you can take, some amazing, others not. Tiny little differences in angles and speed’ll totally alter what happens to you later, so a fraction of an inch to the right, and the ball’ll just hit a pinger and a dinger and fly down between your flippers, no messing, a waste of 10 p. But a fraction to the left and it’s action in the play zone, bumpers and kickers, ramps and slingshots and fame on the high-score table.”
― David Mitchell, quote from The Bone Clocks


“One moment you're carrying this loveable little tyke on your shoulders, the next she's off, and you realize what you suspected all along: However much you love them, your own children are only ever on loan.”
― David Mitchell, quote from The Bone Clocks


“Five years later, I take a deep, shuddery breath to stop myself crying. It’s not just that I can’t hold Aoife again, it’s everything: It’s grief for the regions we deadlanded, the ice caps we melted, the Gulf Stream we redirected, the rivers we drained, the coasts we flooded, the lakes we choked with crap, the seas we killed, the species we drove to extinction, the pollinators we wiped out, the oil we squandered, the drugs we rendered impotent, the comforting liars we voted into office—all so we didn’t have to change our cozy lifestyles.”
― David Mitchell, quote from The Bone Clocks


“Adverbs are cholesterol in the veins of prose. Halve your adverbs and your prose pumps twice as well.”
― David Mitchell, quote from The Bone Clocks


“I consider how you don't get to choose whom you're attracted to, you only get to wonder about it retrospectively.”
― David Mitchell, quote from The Bone Clocks


“Here’s the truth: Who is spared love is spared grief.”
― David Mitchell, quote from The Bone Clocks


“You only value something if you know it’ll end.”
― David Mitchell, quote from The Bone Clocks


“Love is the anesthetic applied by Nature to extract babies.”
― David Mitchell, quote from The Bone Clocks


“Power is lost or won, never created or destroyed. Power is a visitor to, not a possession of, those it empowers.”
― David Mitchell, quote from The Bone Clocks


“Five years later, I take a deep, shuddery breath to stop myself crying. It’s not just that I can’t hold Aoife again, it’s everything: It’s grief for the regions we deadlanded, the ice caps we melted, the Gulf Stream we redirected, the rivers we drained, the coasts we flooded, the lakes we choked with crap, the seas we killed, the species we drove to extinction, the pollinators we wiped out, the oil we squandered, the drugs we rendered impotent, the comforting liars we voted into office—all so we didn’t have to change our cozy lifestyles. People talk about the Endarkenment like our ancestors talked about the Black Death, as if it’s an act of God. But we summoned it, with every tank of oil we burned our way through. My generation were diners stuffing ourselves senseless at the Restaurant of the Earth’s Riches knowing—while denying—that we’d be doing a runner and leaving our grandchildren a tab that can never be paid.”
― David Mitchell, quote from The Bone Clocks


“...if you bare your arse to a vengeful unicorn, the number of possible outcomes dwindles to one.”
― David Mitchell, quote from The Bone Clocks


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About the author

David Mitchell
Born place: in Southport, The United Kingdom
Born date January 12, 1969
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