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Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
Cloud Atlas
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4.25 10
It's hard not to become ensnared by words beginning with the letter B, when attempting to describe Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell's third novel. It's a big book, for start, bold in scope and execution--a bravura literary performance, possibly. (Let's steer clear of breathtaking for now.) Then, of... show more
It's hard not to become ensnared by words beginning with the letter B, when attempting to describe Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell's third novel. It's a big book, for start, bold in scope and execution--a bravura literary performance, possibly. (Let's steer clear of breathtaking for now.) Then, of course, Mitchell was among Granta's Best of Young British Novelists and his second novel number9dreamwas shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Characters with birthmarks in the shape of comets are a motif; as are boats. Oh and one of the six narratives strands of the book--where coincidentally Robert Frobisher, a young composer, dreams up "a sextet for overlapping soloists" entitled Cloud Atlas--is set in Belgium, not far from Bruges. (See what I mean?) Structured rather akin to a Chinese puzzle or a set of Matrioshka dolls, there are dazzling shifts in genre and voice and the stories leak into each other with incidents and people being passed on like batons in a relay race. The 19th-century journals of an American notary in the Pacific that open the novel are subsequently unearthed 80 years later on by Frobisher in the library of the ageing, syphilitic maestro he's trying to fleece. Frobisher's waspish letters to his old Cambridge crony, Rufus Sexsmith, in turn surface when Rufus, (by the 1970s a leading nuclear scientist) is murdered. A novelistic account of the journalist Luisa Rey's investigation into Rufus' death finds its way to Timothy Cavendish, a London vanity publisher with an author who has an ingenious method of silencing a snide reviewer. And in a near-dystopian Blade Runner-esque future, a genetically engineered fast food waitress sees a movie based on Cavendish's unfortunate internment in a Hull retirement home. (Cavendish himself wonders how a director called Lars might wish to tackle his plight). All this is less tricky than it sounds, only the lone "Zachary" chapter, told in Pacific Islander dialect (all "dingos'n'ravens", "brekker" and "f'llowin'"s) is an exercise in style too far. Not all the threads quite connect but nonetheless Mitchell binds them into a quite spellbinding rumination on human nature, power, oppression, race, colonialism and consumerism. --Travis Elborough
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Format: paperback
ISBN: 9781444730876 (1444730878)
Publisher: Sceptre
Pages no: 529
Edition language: English
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Community Reviews
A Reading Vocation
A Reading Vocation rated it
4.0 Book 78/100: Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
This is a good "fat book" for people who are intimidated by "fat books" -- because it is divided up into six different stories, it doesn't feel long. I think the book is best enjoyed by just letting yourself sink fully into whatever story you are currently in, rather than stressing out about how the...
Bite Me: Literary Edition
Bite Me: Literary Edition rated it
5.0 Cloud Atlas is Astonishing
To say that David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas is a good book is a gross understatement. Cloud Atlas is nothing short of a masterpiece; a mesmerizing postmodern novel about the journey and self-education of a single soul. Borrowing from the teachings of such philosophies and beliefs as eternal recurrence ...
Book Haunt
Book Haunt rated it
2.0 Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
I do have to admit that I am not really an avid short story fan and this book is basically an assortment of short stories. Each story is in a different time and place but threads from the other stories are woven into each other. There is a common theme of oppression throughout the book. Even thou...
Lillelara
Lillelara rated it
5.0 Cloud Atlas
After YouKneeK posted her review and having a lively discussion with her about the book (and the movie), I realized that I was fuzzy about the details in the novel. A situation I couldn´t tolerate. A reread was required and I ultimately did it. And it was a great experience. It is hard to say some...
YouKneeK
YouKneeK rated it
4.0 Review: Cloud Atlas
This was a very interesting and unique book. It consists of several large sections which are woven together to tell six distinct stories. These stories do relate to each other, but explaining how would be too much of a spoiler. I had thought this book was going to be a science fiction book, but in t...
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