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

by David Mitchell

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
12,377528201 (4.13)4 / 1193
Member:HanJie
Title:Cloud Atlas
Authors:David Mitchell
Info:Sceptre (2004), Edition: First Edition, Paperback, 544 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:science fiction, historical, period, drama

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 (511)  Dutch (5)  German (3)  French (3)  Spanish (2)  Finnish (1)  Danish (1)  Czech (1)  All (527)
Showing 1-5 of 511 (next | show all)
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 |
This book has received great reviews, and pretty much all the good things that have been said about it are true. It is complex, inventive, and carefully crafted. The author is a virtuoso with a gifted ear and a remarkable style. My problem was I did not find the mental investment in getting to know the characters and figuring out what was going on worth the payoff. ( )
  nngrey | Jan 13, 2017 |
This novel started out slow for me, but I really enjoyed the literary puzzle of joining together all the interlinking stories. Kind of a sappy ending. ( )
1 vote jalbacutler | Jan 10, 2017 |
Fascinating book, characters that will remain with you for a while, intricate structure. Deserves a reread to understand all interconnections. Obsession with numbers 6 and 9 (the one being the other upside down). Moving, hilarious, exciting, thrilling or just plain interesting, this novel has got it all.
The entire narrative develops from the silvery egg that has survived the Fall, as told in the central story, in two paragrahs only!

The structure of the novel is also that of a layered egg, or Russian doll. The numbers 6 and 9 occur frequently in the whole of the novel, that contains 6 stories in total. The numbers 6 and 9 have the same form, are diagonally symmetrical, that is horizontal and vertical. The birthmark that most protagonists have in common has the shape of a comet, that is a circle with a tail, like a 6 or 9.

The novel has a vertical symmetry in that each story returns in reverse order after the central 6th one. But is there a horizontal symmetry as well? I think so yes, as the middle one of the noncentral stories, that is nr 4, is called the Half-Lives of ... Why half? Because it is in the middle between stories 1,2 and 4,5. I would therefore expect connections between 1 and 5 and 2 and 4. What might these be?

History is an atlas of clouds, volatile, ever changing, with a significance that is only in the beholders' eye ... ( )
  stef7sa | Jan 5, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 511 (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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Awards and honors
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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