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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
10,711442261 (4.15)4 / 1036
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. 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. 92
    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. 104
    Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (sturlington)
  4. 71
    The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson (one-horse.library, PghDragonMan)
    PghDragonMan: A theme of reincarnation used to balance Karma flows through the story.
  5. 40
    Black Swan Green 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. 40
    Number9Dream by David Mitchell (PghDragonMan)
  8. 41
    Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann (novelcommentary)
  9. 74
    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.
  10. 52
    A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (sturlington)
  11. 20
    TransAtlantic by Colum McCann (suniru)
  12. 20
    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.
  13. 20
    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. 20
    The Islanders by Christopher Priest (tetrachromat)
  15. 20
    Gods Without Men by Hari Kunzru (Tinwara)
  16. 10
    A History of the World in 10½ Chapters by Julian Barnes (suniru)
  17. 10
    Mobius Dick by Andrew Crumey (alzo)
  18. 00
    Earthly Powers by Anthony Burgess (ZenonRobledo)
    ZenonRobledo: I have the feeling Earthly Powers by Anthony Burgess inspired David Mitchell when writing Cloud Atlas. Anyone else have thoughts on the matter?
  19. 00
    The Children of Men by P. D. James (JenMDB)
  20. 00
    Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (JenMDB)

(see all 27 recommendations)

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English (432)  Dutch (4)  Danish (1)  Finnish (1)  Spanish (1)  Czech (1)  French (1)  German (1)  All languages (442)
Showing 1-5 of 432 (next | show all)
Very much enjoyed, didn't realize it had been made into a movie a few years ago... ( )
  keithostertag | Nov 9, 2014 |
After years of hearing about Cloud Atlas and wanting to read it I finally bought myself a copy. It was as good as I wanted it to be which is rather unusual because rarely do books live up to their advance billing.
The book is a series of 6 nested stories ranging from the 1800s to the far future. At first it is hard to tell what the stories have to do with each other but if you suspend your criticism you will discover the connection. In each story the main character discovers the story of the previous section although not the whole story because each breaks off at a crucial point. Then, after the sixth story the truncated stories are completed so that the book begins and ends in the 1800s. It is a unique and, I think, brilliant way of structuring a book.
Many big themes are touched on in this book: slavery, artistic rights, corporate greed, pollution, insurrection, societal breakdown, religion, reincarnation. It’s a cautionary tale, for sure.
Now that a movie has been made of the book Mitchell has added a postscript about his involvement with it. I think I will have to rent this movie because I can’t quite imagine how they can make a 2 hour film about it. Mitchell seems to approve of the handling though so it must stay true to his vision. ( )
  gypsysmom | Nov 7, 2014 |
Cloud Atlas was the weirdest book I think I have ever read, and I really did not enjoy it that much. There wasn't anything that I found interesting for me to clasp onto and hold like a life-line. I'll also be giving the movie a miss. ( )
  Tarklovishki | Oct 31, 2014 |
Although the book really lost me on it's deeper message, it was a fun and interesting and great for the summer. I'm surprised the nested framing device didn't totally annoy me - it actually worked! Glad I got to read it before I saw the movie. ( )
  behemothing | Oct 25, 2014 |
This book is amazing. Once I've read it a couple more times and I understand more of it, definitely 5 stars. ( )
  Ambo_O | Oct 21, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 432 (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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:55:09 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

A reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan ?s California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified "dinery server" on death-row; and Zachry, a young Pacific Islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilisation -- the narrators of Cloud Atlas hear each other ?s echoes down the corridor of history, and their destinies are changed in ways great and small.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 8 descriptions

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