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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
11,670493228 (4.14)4 / 1154
Member:ursula
Title:Cloud Atlas
Authors:David Mitchell
Info:Vintage Canada (2004), Paperback, 528 pages
Collections:Kindle, Read but unowned
Rating:****1/2
Tags:fiction, 1001 books, made into a movie, kindle, 21st century, 2004, 2000s

Work details

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (2004)

  1. 110
    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 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. 00
    Measuring the World by Daniel Kehlmann (JuliaMaria)
  20. 00
    Flesh and Blood by Michèle Roberts (luciente)
    luciente: Similar structure of nested stories

(see all 28 recommendations)

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English (478)  Dutch (5)  Spanish (2)  French (2)  Finnish (1)  Danish (1)  Czech (1)  German (1)  All languages (491)
Showing 1-5 of 478 (next | show all)
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

★★★★★ ♥

I was iffy in starting this book. I’ve had it for years on my shelf (it was recommended to me by some random guy in a used bookstore and I couldn’t say no to him!). My hesitance came from its complexity. Many of my friends had difficulty getting through this book due to its many story lines and some of the language.

But I jumped into this book with as much of an open mind as I could and learned that I absolutely adored this book! The connection of the characters and the stories was amazing and I think the author did a good job of making a difficult concept of many genres (historical fiction, thriller/mystery, comedy, science fiction, post apocalyptic dystopia) flow well and easily.

Sometimes the language can be difficult to get into and I definitely don’t think it’s a book that can be read with a lot of distractions. I found it easiest to read if I just took each story separately. The connections will come; searching for them will make for a difficult time. Perhaps not a read for everyone but I did love this book. I look forward to the movie coming out this October although it’s quite large shoes to fill.
( )
  UberButter | Feb 9, 2016 |
I give this book most-unjustifiably-boring cover award! Seriously, the cover isn't actively ugly or embarrassing, but it would never have intrigued me into picking up this book. I only read it because it was the selection for this month's Post-Apocalyptic book club meeting - and it turned out to be my favorite of all the books we've read so far.

I'm not sure the six stories in the book (which are linked thematically and through a bit of structural gimmickry) really needed to be presented as one work, but since all of them were interesting, and a couple of them were excellent, I didn't mind.

Update: I've belatedly decided to up my review to 5 stars, from my initial 4 - because this is a book I find myself repeatedly thinking about, and recommending to people. It holds up to consideration. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
I was really excited to win this through the First-Reads giveaway. Then I was really disappointed to see that it was the movie cover (like, really disappointed). But then I was completely caught up in reading it, and almost wished it didn't have to end. The Robert Frobisher and Luisa Rey storylines were my favorite, but even the ones with characters I disliked (Cavendish) and the ones that were hard to read (Zachry) became totally engrossing. Excellent, fascinating story - or stories, really. Also, the final pages were surprisingly reflective of, as well as an answer to, my current internal struggles. I'm going to watch the movie with low expectations, but I still want to watch it just to experience another dimension of this fantastic book. ( )
  mirikayla | Feb 8, 2016 |
Wow! I adore the structure of this novel, and it deserves 5 stars just for that, however my complete love of it was sealed after reading the final entry in Ewing's journal. Chills. ( )
  tashlyn88 | Feb 5, 2016 |
I confess. I had to go to Wikipedia to figure out what the novel was really about. I mean, I could follow it, eventually, but I wasn't sure what Mitchell was really saying or trying to accomplish. I read a little of what he had to say about what it means, and it makes sense to a certain extent, but I never would have gotten there on my own. So I'm feeling a little less intelligent than usual today. I can't say I really enjoyed it. Sonmi~451 was my favorite part - it reminded me of Atwood's trilogy a bit. I am looking forward to seeing the movie. ( )
  MaureenCean | Feb 2, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 478 (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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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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