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Cloud Atlas (2004)

by David Mitchell

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
14,646602265 (4.11)4 / 1330
Recounts the connected stories of people from the past and the distant future, from a nineteenth-century notary and an investigative journalist in the 1970s to a young man who searches for meaning in a post-apocalyptic world.
  1. 120
    If on a Winter's Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino (Ludi_Ling)
    Ludi_Ling: Different yet both well-written approaches to meta-fiction.
  2. 122
    The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell (pgmcc)
    pgmcc: Really enjoyable set of related stories with the author's well deomonstrated skill
  3. 81
    The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson (TomWaitsTables, PghDragonMan)
    PghDragonMan: A theme of reincarnation used to balance Karma flows through the story.
  4. 51
    Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban (Rynooo, browner56, pfeldman)
    browner56: Highly imaginative works, particularly the phonetic recreations of the English language
  5. 40
    Number9Dream by David Mitchell (PghDragonMan)
  6. 40
    The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood (JenMDB)
  7. 84
    A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (jbvm, souloftherose)
    jbvm: Without giving anything away, after you've read both you'll understand my recommendation.
    souloftherose: Both novels are occasionally experimental in style with interconnected short stories. They are also both very good.
  8. 30
    Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (JenMDB, sturlington)
    sturlington: Both have unusual narrative structures and explore the theme of reincarnation.
  9. 30
    Black Swan Green by David Mitchell (PghDragonMan)
  10. 31
    Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann (novelcommentary)
  11. 20
    Gods Without Men by Hari Kunzru (Tinwara)
  12. 10
    The Islanders by Christopher Priest (tetrachromat)
  13. 10
    The Castle of Crossed Destinies by Italo Calvino (Ludi_Ling)
    Ludi_Ling: For those interested in disparate yet intertwining narratives of a somewhat fantastical nature.
  14. 21
    The Children of Men by P. D. James (JenMDB)
  15. 32
    Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (generalkala)
    generalkala: Similar multi-strand, multi-era novel.
  16. 10
    Girl Reading by Katie Ward (rarm)
    rarm: Girl Reading isn't as intricately constructed as Cloud Atlas, but both books use linked stories to carry a theme through the centuries and into the future.
  17. 00
    Elysium by Jennifer Marie Brissett (ansate)
  18. 00
    The Stone Gods by Jeanette Winterson (doryfish)
    doryfish: Both novels have a theme of eternal recurrence.
  19. 00
    Join by Steve Toutonghi (47degreesnorth)
  20. 00
    Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (sturlington)

(see all 32 recommendations)


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English (584)  Dutch (6)  French (3)  German (3)  Spanish (2)  Finnish (1)  Czech (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (601)
Showing 1-5 of 584 (next | show all)
Perhaps this would have been more comprehensible if I had read it in one or two sittings. As it was, by the time I reached second half of the interrupted stories I had forgotten much of the action. I can understand interweaving subplots when they are of events happening to different people in approximately the same time i.e. "meanwhile, back at the ranch." But I am tired of novels written to make the reader jump through hoops. Start in the South Seas in the 1800s, jump to 1930s Europe, then sometime later in California, then England somewhat later , then some part of Asia in a futuristic dystopia, then the Hawaiian Islands post collapse of civilization and then back to finish each of the earlier stories in reverse order. Cute, but difficult to connect with and care about characters. Meh. If I'm ever stuck on a desert island with a crate of books I will hope for Trollope and Dickens, not anyone caught up in being cutting edge. ( )
  ritaer | Jun 25, 2020 |
Over rated fantasy, hard to follow ( )
  MaxwellT | Jun 14, 2020 |
Loved the structure and the way the connections between sections were more subtle than other novels made up of linked stories. David Mitchell speaks fluently through each section's different voice, but it generally took me several pages to get the hang of a new style. As a whole, a beautiful book. ( )
1 vote nancyjean19 | Jun 3, 2020 |
Amazing work of imagination. Meticulous attention to detail. Prose is lovely, story well-crafted. The kind of philosophical novel Forster wishes, from his grave, he had written. ( )
  TheaJean | Jun 2, 2020 |
Finally done with this garbage. To say at the beginning, yes I did complete this book.

After I started reading this book, I started reading some of the reviews for this book (and the movie when it was released). I will say this - you either hate or love this book. I HATE this book.

I was promised this book would come together, but it did not. The first parts of this book (I'd say the first 60%) makes no sense and sets up the last parts. However, the payoff is awful.

As many have noted, essentially this is 6 short stories tied together extremely weakly. The idea of the book was pretty interesting and some of the stories themselves were entertaining, but the writing was horrendous. Hated. It. ( )
  cgfaulknerog | May 28, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 584 (next | show all)
It felt like reading multiple stories from six different authors all on a common theme, yet all these disparate characters connect, their fates intertwine, and their souls drift across time like clouds across a globe.
Cloud Atlas is powerful and elegant because of Mitchell's understanding of the way we respond to those fundamental and primitive stories we tell about good and evil, love and destruction, beginnings and ends. He isn't afraid to jerk tears or ratchet up suspense - he understands that's what we make stories for.

» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mitchell, Davidprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brick, ScottNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Campbell, CassandraNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guest, Kim MaiNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heyborne, KirbyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, JohnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Matthews, RichardNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mijn, Aad van derTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oldenburg, VolkerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Original title
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Original publication date
Important places
Important events
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Awards and honors
For Hana and her grandparents.
First words
Beyond the Indian hamlet, upon a forlorn strand, I happened on a trail of recent footprints.
Oh, once you've been initiated into the Elderly, the world doesn't want you back.
Sometimes the fluffy bunny of incredulity zooms around the bend so rapidly that the greyhound of language is left, agog, in the starting cage.
The stationmaster's whistle blew on time, the locomotive strained like a gouty proctor on the pot before heaving itself into motion.
"Are you mad?"
Always a trickier question than it looks. "I doubt it."
Souls cross ages like clouds cross skies.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

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Wikipedia in English (2)

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Book description
The book consists of six nested stories that take us from the remote South Pacific in the nineteenth century to a distant, post-apocalyptic future. Each tale is revealed to be a story that is read (or watched) by the main character in the next.
Haiku summary
Looping, linking time/
chaining space, land seasalt drifting/
visual lyric threads
The literary
equivalent of Marmite –
you love or hate it.

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