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Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
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Cloud Atlas (original 2004; edition 2012)

by David Mitchell

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
12,432529197 (4.13)4 / 1200
Member:tderks
Title:Cloud Atlas
Authors:David Mitchell
Info:Sceptre (2012), Paperback, 528 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
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. 20
    The Children of Men by P. D. James (JenMDB)
  11. 31
    Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann (novelcommentary)
  12. 31
    Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (Anonymous user)
  13. 10
    TransAtlantic by Colum McCann (suniru)
  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. 32
    Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (generalkala)
    generalkala: Similar multi-strand, multi-era novel.
  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 (513)  Dutch (5)  German (3)  French (3)  Spanish (2)  Finnish (1)  Danish (1)  Czech (1)  All (529)
Showing 1-5 of 513 (next | show all)
I was doing okay following this story along until about halfway through the book and then I just got lost. Once the story slungshot back to Louisa's story I picked up a little of the interest I started with but, mostly, I was just curious about how it was all going to work out. The middle perspective with the made up language was almost unreadable. I ended up listening to this book on audio and I could still barely figure out what was being said most of the time; I can't imagine trying to read it physically. It seemed to go downhill from there for me. I didn't finish the book feeling like I understood anything. The connections between each perspective didn't flow as well as I thought it might, and ultimately I'm still scratching my head about what the whole point of the book was about. ( )
  Kassilem | Mar 7, 2017 |
Confusing. Need to read again. ( )
  KarenAJeff | Feb 25, 2017 |
David Mitchell is one of my favourite authors, and I really like this novel.
Cloud Atlas tells several stories, layering them around each other, each of the stories in subtle ways connected to the others.

Cloud Atlas reminds me of the butterfly effect: any event can have large consequences in different areas and different times. In this novel, though the stories are in a way separate stories, set in different eras and different countries, events from one story affect the other stories and change events in other locations and in the future.
It is really interesting to see how Mitchell weaves the stories together, making them fit in with each other, giving subtle hints about their connectivity.

Another thing I very much respect in Mitchell's work is his use of different voices. The different stories have very different narrators, which use different writing styles and different language to tell their stories. Mitchell manages to make each story sound as distinct as if they were written by separate authors.

A great read, and definitely worth rereading from time to time. ( )
  Britt84 | Jan 30, 2017 |
David Mitchell is a genius. ( )
  kemilyh1988 | Jan 16, 2017 |
"Souls cross ages like clouds cross skies."

What an ending to a fantastic story, told through separate narratives, written by different (fictional) authors, in a wild array of styles and dialects. From the 19th century colonial pacific, to early 20th century Belgium, to 1980s California, to futuristic capitalist South-Korean dystopia, to post-apocalyptic Hawaii, and back through time, all the while unveiling old mysteries and revealing new ones.

This book puts forth an argument, constantly, against greed, corruption, racism, and generally, human nature gone wrong. Individuals fight their little fights, their actions at times seeming futile; yet in the end, change starts within oneself. On the final pages of Cloud Atlas, Adam Ewing realizes this.

As the book ends where it begins, Ewing decides to become an abolitionist. He knows that he will be discouraged by his friends and family, who will call him a naive idealist:

"Only as you gasp your dying breath shall you understand, your life amounted to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean!"

Yet Adam has seen far too much, and he's discovered a poignant truth:

"Yet what is any ocean but a multitude of drops?"
  bartt95 | Jan 15, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 513 (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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People/Characters
Important places
Important events
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Epigraph
Dedication
For Hana and her grandparents.
First words
Beyond the Indian hamlet, upon a forlorn strand, I happened on a trail of recent footprints.
Quotations
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
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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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