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Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

Cloud Atlas (original 2004; edition 2004)

by David Mitchell

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
11,412476239 (4.14)4 / 1140
Title:Cloud Atlas
Authors:David Mitchell
Info:Vintage Canada (2004), Paperback, 528 pages
Collections:read in 2012, Your library

Work details

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (2004)

  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. 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. 71
    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. 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.
  5. 40
    Number9Dream by David Mitchell (PghDragonMan)
  6. 51
    Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban (Rynooo, browner56, pfeldman)
    browner56: Highly imaginative works, particularly the phonetic recreations of the English language
  7. 30
    Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (JenMDB, sturlington)
    sturlington: Both have unusual narrative structures and explore the theme of reincarnation.
  8. 30
    The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood (JenMDB)
  9. 30
    Black Swan Green by David Mitchell (PghDragonMan)
  10. 31
    Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann (novelcommentary)
  11. 20
    The Children of Men by P. D. James (JenMDB)
  12. 31
    Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (generalkala)
    generalkala: Similar multi-strand, multi-era novel.
  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
    Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (Anonymous user)
  15. 10
    TransAtlantic by Colum McCann (suniru)
  16. 10
    The Islanders by Christopher Priest (tetrachromat)
  17. 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.
  18. 10
    Gods Without Men by Hari Kunzru (Tinwara)
  19. 88
    Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond (hippietrail)
  20. 00
    Measuring the World by Daniel Kehlmann (JuliaMaria)

(see all 28 recommendations)


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English (463)  Dutch (5)  Spanish (2)  French (2)  Finnish (1)  Danish (1)  Czech (1)  German (1)  All languages (476)
Showing 1-5 of 463 (next | show all)
I enjoyed the daylights out of this book and will probably read it again. Completely engaging and fascinating. Great storytelling with interesting things to chew upon. ( )
  snugthejoiner | Nov 16, 2015 |
I particularly enjoyed the New Seoul section (LOVE the way Mitchell wrote the concept of a corpocracy!). And I wasn't as thrilled w/ the Hawaii after-the-fall section. But, overall, a very satisfying and enjoyable read! Mitchell is clearly a master at enveloping his reader in the setting in which he's writing ... in a book that covers 6 completely different eras and perspectives, this challenge was nevertheless met with apparent ease. I can't wait to see the movie now! It's waiting for me at the library :) And I can't wait to read more Mitchell! ( )
  avanders | Oct 21, 2015 |
I thought that this book showed the capabilities of what an author can achieve. Mitchell didn't just place his characters into settings, he created settings and re-imagined language. This aspect of the novel is what intrigued me the most.
Each individual plot line had me hooked. I wanted to read the second halves so badly. I don't think I can pick a favourite storyline because I believe that each section would have made great novels separately.

I guess this is where I have my problem with Cloud Altas, I wish it had more connections throughout it. There was a great connection from Somni to Slooshes but that was pretty much it. The only connections were the stories left behind in all different forms of information. I had expected some kind of relative connections or reincarnated connections that were uncovered through the finding of the other stories. I just think there could of been more. The book felt more like a collection of short stories than a fully connected novel. It felt disconnected.

Overall, (even though it says 4 stars) its more of a 3.5 because of the problem I had with it. All in all, a great read. ( )
  ebethiepaige | Oct 20, 2015 |
I love the cover to the British version-- somebody in the art department must've blown a fuse trying to distill "Cloud Atlas" into a cover; so they went for a psychedelic Jerry Cornelius (Michael Moorcock reference for those un-genred) design...

I won't belabor the whys of whether to read this book or not: do!

As an author officially off the radar of Sf&Fantasy fans (trust me, I've test it--at conventions even).. it astounds me how the literary community embraces his writing without hesitation, when he so obviously (self-declared) comes from genre roots.
This book has graced the tables of book clubs, been read by countless non-genre readers ("I've never read any SF&F"), and most are stunned by the storytelling.

Sure, some might think it's pretentious, but I think most Beat Lit. is pretentious, while others think that was 'keepin' it real'... So opinions abound like days since the Big Bang...

Anyway, read it. You're guaranteed an experience. What you make of it is entirely up to you. ( )
  VladVerano | Oct 20, 2015 |
Remarkable. It's clever, but I think the cleverness is focused on far too much in discussions around this book. The formal structure ends up being very simple: six stories, each one following the other but split by its successor, queueing in and then queuing out in the opposite order. The real joy of the novel is in each of the tales, spun out so expertly that you're almost immediately engrossed—despite realizing that you'll inevitably be pulled away to the next tale. Mitchell shows off a little but is uniformly superb, dabbling in journals, epistles, orality, and genre fiction. And in the whole of it, he shows how individual sacrifices can carry down through time to maintain a vitality in the midst of larger forces groaning towards disaster. The film is in good hands to be appropriately insane, and I can't wait to find out what it's like.

Michael Silverblatt's Bookworm epsisode is incredible, and even highly-recommended if you haven't read the novel yet. ( )
  lt_ammar_test_02 | Oct 19, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 463 (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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Important places
Important events
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:11 -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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