Together in the Crowd of Time: Temporal Decentering and Ethical Action in David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks
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In The Bone Clocks, the novelist David Mitchell demonstrates how crowded time leads to the interruption of self-centred temporal flows, creating moments of collision between the self and others, and sparking points of narrative inflection and ethical opportunity. Such moments call into question the value of empathy as a foundation of ethical action, and suggest new ways to think about the trajectories of subjects and civilizations alike. Whereas some might intend the expression “get lost” as an insult, in Mitchell’s best-case scenarios we can read it as an invitation to embrace interruption as a means to temporal decentering and ethical action.