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Cloud Atlas: A Novel (Modern Library) by…

Cloud Atlas: A Novel (Modern Library) (original 2004; edition 2012)

by David Mitchell

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
16,009644269 (4.1)4 / 1396
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.
Title:Cloud Atlas: A Novel (Modern Library)
Authors:David Mitchell
Info:Modern Library (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 528 pages
Collections:New Books

Work Information

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (2004)

Recently added byprivate library, okennedy219, LauraClayton, hodgentowle, BedlamLibrary, hillmank88
  1. 121
    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. 122
    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. 81
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    PghDragonMan: A theme of reincarnation used to balance Karma flows through the story.
  4. 51
    Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban (Rynooo, browner56, pfeldman)
    browner56: Highly imaginative works, particularly the phonetic recreations of the English language
  5. 40
    Number9Dream by David Mitchell (PghDragonMan)
  6. 40
    The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood (JenMDB)
  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
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  9. 31
    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
    Gods Without Men by Hari Kunzru (Tinwara)
  12. 10
    The Islanders by Christopher Priest (tetrachromat)
  13. 21
    The Children of Men by P. D. James (JenMDB)
  14. 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.
  15. 10
    Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr (nicole_a_davis)
    nicole_a_davis: Both have stories that span multiple time periods and are seemingly unconnected until the end.
  16. 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.
  17. 32
    Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (generalkala)
    generalkala: Similar multi-strand, multi-era novel.
  18. 00
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  19. 00
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  20. 00
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    doryfish: Both novels have a theme of eternal recurrence.

(see all 32 recommendations)


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English (624)  Dutch (8)  German (4)  French (3)  Spanish (2)  Finnish (1)  Czech (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (644)
Showing 1-5 of 624 (next | show all)
Me permito el lujo de darle la puntuación más alta posible a esta novela tan solo por los dos últimos y frenéticos días que me ha concedido leyendo sus múltiples desenlaces porque, sinceramente, puedo comprender a la gente que la ha dejado a medias tras empezarla y no tener claro el objetivo de este ejercicio estilístico: ahora que la veo en su conjunto cobra un sentido que antes apenas se intuía.

Como ya sabrá casi todo el mundo, esta novela está concebida en forma de línea recta que atraviesa varias circunferencias concéntricas que se corresponden con diferentes momentos temporales pasados y futuros. Como sois pocos los que tenéis la avanzada visión espacial que esta explicación requiere, abundaré en ella para mentes más simples: empieza en el pasado, continúa en otras historias cada vez más modernas, la historia que se corresponde con el futuro más lejano la cuenta de golpe, y luego va cerrando el resto de historias desde las más modernas hasta la más antigua, terminando el libro con la segunda parte de aquella con la que empieza. En este aspecto es muy original y admito que ha sabido hacerlo bien para mantener el interés porque, efectivamente, esos puntos en los que la línea recta corta las circunferencias terminan conformando un todo congruente que, sinceramente, no veíamos venir y presagiaba tostón.

Por mis gustos propios he de confesar que he disfrutado bastante más de las historias más contemporáneas y futuras que de las primeras, que tocaban momentos y costumbres del XIX y principios del XX que, en una primera cata, me daban bastante igual, aunque sus cierres en las segundas partes han sido bastante buenos. Pero insisto: la chicha real está en las otras historias, que van desde las intrigas por los secretos de las nuevas energías que aparecieron en la segunda mitad del siglo XX hasta unos futuros distópicos que no veo yo que vayan tan desencaminados con nuestra realidad. Pero repito: la gracia está en cómo se hilvanan entre sí y, particularmente, las reflexiones y críticas elípticas que devienen de este hilvanado (hacia el final hay una sencillamente brutal).

En definitiva y contra todo lo que yo creía que iba a pensar tras terminarla, una novela muy maja, entretenida cuando menos, que toca diferentes géneros en diferentes estilos (¡incluso epistolar!), y que hace uso implícito del Efecto Mariposa y las Matemáticas del Caos para alcanzar unas conclusiones narrativas y filosóficas que, quién me lo iba a decir a mí, incluso me han dado que pensar a mi tierna edad. ( )
  tecniferio | May 12, 2022 |
hard to stay into the story but still curious about what would happen next. enjoyed the message of connectedness and human nature and thought that the change in writing styles for each story was well done but not sure if I would have put it on the top 600 books of all time list but I do have many more years of reading left to change my mind ( )
  maddogish | May 9, 2022 |
I thought his was great. I enjoyed it all the way through, both the actual stories and the impressive feat of the writing, but for much of the book I had a nagging fear that it wouldn't all come together at the end. And then he nailed it on the last page. Brilliant. ( )
  whatmeworry | Apr 9, 2022 |
I adored this book, as well as his Black Swan Green. These are indelible characters, odd and utterly graspable. ( )
  AnnKlefstad | Feb 4, 2022 |
I love (almost, skip Jupiter Ascending) every film the Wachowski's have made and when I heard they were making an adaptation of this book, I quickly went out and bought it. I completely enjoyed both the book and the movie and both are in my top science fiction books and movies of all time. I recommend reading the book first, then you don't have to worry too much about following what's happening the movie, which I imagine is kind of difficult on the first watch. ( )
  Sarahbrarian | Feb 3, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 624 (next | show all)
It felt like reading multiple stories from six different authors all on a common theme, yet all these disparate characters connect, their fates intertwine, and their souls drift across time like clouds across a globe.
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 (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mitchell, Davidprimary 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
Oldenburg, VolkerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
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Awards and honors
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
Original language
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Canonical LCC

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Wikipedia in English (2)

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.

No library descriptions found.

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
Looping, linking time/
chaining space, land seasalt drifting/
visual lyric threads
The literary
equivalent of Marmite –
you love or hate it.

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