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Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

Cloud Atlas (original 2004; edition 2012)

by David Mitchell

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
12,285521207 (4.13)4 / 1189
Title:Cloud Atlas
Authors:David Mitchell
Info:Sceptre (2012), Paperback, 528 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, 2013

Work details

Cloud Atlas: A Novel by David Mitchell (Author) (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. 112
    The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet: A Novel 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. 40
    Black Swan Green by David Mitchell (PghDragonMan)
  5. 51
    Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban (Rynooo, browner56, pfeldman)
    browner56: Highly imaginative works, particularly the phonetic recreations of the English language
  6. 40
    Number9Dream by David Mitchell (PghDragonMan)
  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
    The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood (JenMDB)
  9. 30
    Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (JenMDB, sturlington)
    sturlington: Both have unusual narrative structures and explore the theme of reincarnation.
  10. 31
    Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann (novelcommentary)
  11. 20
    The Children of Men by P. D. James (JenMDB)
  12. 10
    TransAtlantic by Colum McCann (suniru)
  13. 32
    Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (generalkala)
    generalkala: Similar multi-strand, multi-era novel.
  14. 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.
  15. 10
    Gods Without Men by Hari Kunzru (Tinwara)
  16. 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.
  17. 10
    The Islanders by Christopher Priest (tetrachromat)
  18. 21
    Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (Anonymous user)
  19. 00
    Measuring the World by Daniel Kehlmann (JuliaMaria)
  20. 00
    Join by Steve Toutonghi (47degreesnorth)

(see all 29 recommendations)


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English (506)  Dutch (5)  French (3)  Spanish (2)  Finnish (1)  Danish (1)  Czech (1)  German (1)  All (520)
Showing 1-5 of 506 (next | show all)
Wanted to love this. Didn't quite. For all the hype surrounding its unconventional format and its revolutionary structure I was left a little wanting. This is just a story within a story within a story within a story within a story within a story - a sixfold nested story. My take, it would have been better off as a collection of six long-ish short stories instead of six stories that interrupt one another. The Wachowskis' movie takes an opposite approach, jumping back and forth from story to story and all over the place. Probably a little hard to follow for those who'd never read the book, but the book could have used a little more of that to really draw out the connections and parallels and differences between the stories. All said, a fine book, but praise for its unconventional nature was completely overblown. ( )
  steve520 | Dec 10, 2016 |
A mesmerising read.

Don't be put off by the bad reviews for the movie adaptation. The novel itself is something else entirely and deserved better from Hollywood.

A series of interlinked stories ranging from the 19th Century through to a far distant future, Cloud Atlas is bursting with ideas. Starting with The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing, Mitchell expounds on his themes of history repeating itself, of the actions we take in this life impacting upon the future, of love and destiny. Each story stops half way through until the middle story, like a set of Russian dolls, each revealing a new character, a new layer of meaning.

Mitchell adapts his writing style to suit each story: A 19th Century Journal; a set of letters written in the 1930's from an aspiring composer; a pulp thriller set in the early 70's; a fictional biography of a present day publisher; the testimony of a genetically engineered Korean clone; and finally the tale of a man living in Hawaii after the fall of civilisation.

This last tale was for me the hardest read, told as it was in a kind of pigeon English (or American!) and was the most obvious example of "history repeating".

On the whole though I found Cloud Atlas to be a great read, by turns exciting and thought provoking. What does it all mean? That is open to interpretation, but a line towards the end, where Adam Ewing writes about his son, sort of summed it up for me: "A life spent shaping a world I want Jackson (his son) to inherit, not one I fear Jackson shall inherit, this strikes me as a life worth the living." ( )
  David.Manns | Nov 28, 2016 |
This book was beautifully crafted. It painted a picture of many different lives weaved together through small details. It was a masterpiece but for some reason, I could not get into it the way I hoped I would. The story didn't grab me the way many books do. I'm glad I read it but I don't think I'd want to read it again. ( )
  K3ndra28 | Nov 15, 2016 |
Oh my gosh, this was as good as everyone says it is. Wow. ( )
1 vote laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
dammmnn i think i have a new author crush. brilliant. ( )
  pixiegenne | Nov 11, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 506 (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
Mitchell, DavidAuthorprimary 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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Original title
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Important places
Important events
Related movies
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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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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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