Review: The Chimes

6 years ago
Sharona Lin

Every so often, a book comes along that is radically different to anything you’ve ever read, and completely absorbs you. The Chimes for me is one of those books.

Anna Smaill’s story about a boy lost in London is told predominantly through the sounds of music and the faint threads of memory. In the world these characters inhabit, life is woven by a enormous musical instrument that means people cannot form new memories. It means there is no past, only new days.

The Chimes Anna Smaill cover

It’s definitely not for everybody – The Chimes is thick with wordy prose and musical references that can usually be inferred, but may necessitate some quick dictionary searches for those less classically inclined. The plot takes a while to take shape too – the narration style is very loose, and not for those who like their stories clear and simple.

The Chimes is definitely not for light reading. It’s a book with a lot of complexity and a lot of depth – be prepared to think.


The Chimes comes out 10 February, 2015. Visit the Hachette website for more information.

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