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Cloud Atlas: A Novel by David Mitchell

Cloud Atlas: A Novel (original 2004; edition 2004)

by David Mitchell

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
10,931446259 (4.15)4 / 1076
Title:Cloud Atlas: A Novel
Authors:David Mitchell
Info:Random House Trade Paperbacks (2004), Paperback, 528 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (2004)

  1. 111
    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. 102
    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. 104
    Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (sturlington)
  4. 71
    The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson (one-horse.library, PghDragonMan)
    PghDragonMan: A theme of reincarnation used to balance Karma flows through the story.
  5. 40
    Number9Dream by David Mitchell (PghDragonMan)
  6. 74
    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.
  7. 52
    A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (sturlington)
  8. 30
    Black Swan Green by David Mitchell (PghDragonMan)
  9. 41
    Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban (Rynooo, browner56, pfeldman)
    browner56: Highly imaginative works, particularly the phonetic recreations of the English language
  10. 20
    The Children of Men by P. D. James (JenMDB)
  11. 20
    Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (JenMDB, sturlington)
    sturlington: Both have unusual narrative structures and explore the theme of reincarnation.
  12. 31
    Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann (novelcommentary)
  13. 10
    TransAtlantic by Colum McCann (suniru)
  14. 10
    The Islanders by Christopher Priest (tetrachromat)
  15. 10
    The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood (JenMDB)
  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. 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.
  18. 10
    Gods Without Men by Hari Kunzru (Tinwara)
  19. 11
    Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (generalkala)
    generalkala: Similar multi-strand, multi-era novel.
  20. 11
    Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (Anonymous user)

(see all 28 recommendations)


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English (435)  Dutch (4)  Spanish (2)  Danish (1)  Finnish (1)  German (1)  French (1)  Czech (1)  All languages (446)
Showing 1-5 of 435 (next | show all)
One of the best books I have ever read. So nice a read. I have seen the movie before the reading the books didn't seem that interesting at first. I proved myself to be wrong to soon. The book is so interesting and makes you turn the pages with keen interest.
The language of the books is quite nice, I could really feel the old english and the new in the same book. So nice a language pattern let me tell you plot is one of the best I have ever seen.You should read. ( )
  durgaprsd04 | Feb 25, 2015 |
Four stars, or five? I can't decide.

I loved this book. Looked forward to reading it every chance I got, carried it to the copy machine to read while waiting for paperwork chores to be done.

Cloud Atlas bounces around the globe, through ages, and through perspectives.
The structure of this novel drew me in. I know some think it's a clumsy contrivance, but I found the novel's format clever, absorbing, and intriguing. It took me a while to figure out what was happening (and, to be honest, I can't say that I every "figured it all out"), and once I realized the structure of the novel I was enamored. I loved how Mitchell lays it all out in Letters from Zedelghem.

I enjoy books that develop characters. Each of these stories, so radically different from the other, does that. I most enjoyed Frobisher and Sixsmith. Luisa Rey drove me a touch nuts (she seemed a little too naive to me). Sonmi tugged at my heart.

Perfect novel? Eh, probably not. But worth the read. Tons of yes. ( )
  ThePortPorts | Feb 19, 2015 |
An amazing set of stories. They are linked thematically, and through cosmic coincidence, more than in plot. The result is a symphony of story, much like the in-book namesake. More than anything, this book is evocative. The characters have persisted in my mind, and become real in a way that they do not in other books.

Unlike many books that could be classified as literary fiction, Cloud Atlas is very readable, enjoyable on many different levels. ( )
  shabacus | Feb 19, 2015 |
About half of the stories were mildly interesting, but on the whole, there's no reason for this book to be as lauded as it is. My theory behind it's astounding reputation is this:

Critics mistook unique/creative for aesthetically phenomenal. The literati took them at their word and didn't want to admit their own "ignorance" by not loving it as much as the critics, so they further praised it. The same happened all the way down the line till you get to the "OMG! It isn't good until it's a movie" crowd.
That's my theory, at least. ( )
  benuathanasia | Jan 3, 2015 |
The unusual form worked, way better than I thought it would. Don't give up if you're having a hard time with one of the narrators - the next one will probably suit you better. ( )
  lavaturtle | Dec 31, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 435 (next | show all)
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 (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
David Mitchellprimary 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
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Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
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
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Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

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

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375507256, Paperback)

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

A postmodern visionary who is also a master of styles of genres, David Mitchell combines flat-out adventure, a Nabokovian lore of puzzles, a keen eye for character, and a taste for mind-bending philosophical and scientific speculation in the tradition of 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

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:55:09 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

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Average: (4.15)
0.5 3
1 44
1.5 9
2 123
2.5 47
3 384
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4 1037
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5 1299


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