Cloud Atlas

David Mitchell
By the author of THE THOUSAND AUTUMNS OF JACOB DE ZOET, David Mitchell's bestselling and Booker Prize-shortlisted novel was one of Richard & Judy's 100 Books of the Decade and has now been made into a major motion picture starring Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, Jim Sturgess, Ben Whishaw, Jim Broadbent and Hugh Grant A reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagans California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified dinery server on death-row; and Zachry, a young Pacific Islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilisation the narrators of CLOUD ATLAS hear each others echoes down the corridor of history, and their destinies are changed in ways great and small. In his extraordinary third novel, David Mitchell erases the boundaries of language, genre and time to offer a meditation on humanity's dangerous will to power, and where it may lead us.

Reviews

Reviewed: 2016-06-22
I don't think I fell in love with this book as a lot of other people seem to have, but it was a good read and I'm glad I read it. I definitely enjoyed some sections more than others (I guess that's always going to be a problem in a book that's made up of such completely different stories), but I enjoyed picking up on the little 'clues' linking the stories together. I also really liked the closing comments of Adam Ewing's Journal/the book.

One part I had trouble getting into was the first part of Adam Ewing's Journal. It was a difficult section to lead into the book with, but once I got past that it picked up, particularly with the second story, Letters from Zedelghem. This was the most enjoyable section for me; Robert Frobisher's character was probably the least likable but his letters were so witty and enjoyable to read that I could look past all that.

I struggled a bit with The First Luisa Rey Mystery because it was so terribly cliched. The entire thing reminded me of a bad movie. The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish didn't really affect me one way or another. I quite enjoyed The Orison of Sonmi-451. I love dystopian literature and comparing different futures. This one gave me more food for thought. I also had trouble with Sloosha's Crossing, mostly because of the colloquial style of the language, and because it was the middle section, it was unbroken so I didn't even get a break from it!

There were a few major themes running throughout all of the stories: reincarnation (the comet-shaped birthmark), betrayal, inequality, imprisonment, and the progress of mankind through the ages and the struggles of minorities to gain acceptance and freedom.

I know I've said a few bad things about this book and I think ultimately that the whole was greater than the sum of its parts, but overall it was an enjoyable experience,. It's definitely a very ambitious novel for anyone to undertake, and I think David Mitchell did really well linking the various stories together.
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