Cloud Atlas (Movie Tie-in Edition): A Novel

David Mitchell
Now a major motion picture starring Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, and Hugh Grant, and directed by Lana and Andy Wachowski and Tom Tykwer  Includes a new Afterword by David Mitchell A postmodern visionary who is also a master of styles and genres, David Mitchell combines flat-out adventure, a Nabokovian love of puzzles, a keen eye for character, and a taste for mind-bending philosophical and scientific speculation in the tradition of Haruki Murakami, Umberto Eco, and Philip K. Dick. The result is brilliantly original fiction that reveals how disparate people connect, how their fates intertwine, and how their souls drift across time like clouds across the sky.“[David] Mitchell is, clearly, a genius. He writes as though at the helm of some perpetual dream machine, can evidently do anything, and his ambition is written in magma across this novel’s every page.”—The New York Times Book Review“One of those how-the-holy-hell-did-he-do-it? modern classics that no doubt is—and should be—read by any student of contemporary literature.”—Dave Eggers   “Wildly entertaining . . . a head rush, both action-packed and chillingly ruminative.”—People   “The novel as series of nested dolls or Chinese boxes, a puzzle-book, and yet—not just dazzling, amusing, or clever but heartbreaking and passionate, too. I’ve never read anything quite like it, and I’m grateful to have lived, for a while, in all its many worlds.”—Michael Chabon


Reviewed: 2021-02-20
I have no idea what to rate this, so I'll go with a neutral 3 stars. Maybe I'll change my mind about it when I reread it and know what to expect.
Thing is, I had a hard time connecting to any of the characters. Only Sonmi-451 drew me in instantly (and since she's a fabricate, I'm not sure what that says about me).
The book is divided into six stories, with only the sixth being finished in one sitting: it goes back to the beginning after that (1-2-3-4-5-6-5-4-3-2-1). Clever, sure. All stories were written in very different styles, and convincingly so, even though it made it harder to get into them because of the different time periods. Rather than being able to read the story in one go, I had to force myself to continue with every new story, because it took the extra effort I wasn't very willing to put in as I had no real connection to the characters. I think I picked up the connections between the stories - I just couldn't find it in me to care enough. That probably comes off as unnecessarily rude, but that was my personal reading experience, doubtlessly coloured.

Either way, I have to admire Mitchell for his world building at least, and for all the research that went into the different books. I still want to read The Thousand Summers of Jacob de Zoet, as this book convinced me he'll have done a good job with the setting.
However, Cloud Atlas didn't make the impression on me I was hoping for, and that's a shame. Again, maybe this will change on a reread, knowing what I get into.
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