Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

Genre: fantasy, sci-fi, adventure
Series and Book #: none
Pages: 528

There are six different stories set in different times: Adam Ewing, an American traveling across the world for his work; Robert Frobisher, a young musician seeking security and an apprenticeship in Belgium; Luisa Rey, a journalist following in her father’s footsteps hoping to uncover a dangerous nuclear power plant; Timothy Cavendish, an elderly gentleman who is sent to a nursing home and is waiting for his chance to escape; Sonmi-451, a clone beginning to understand the world; and finally, Zachry Bailey, a sixteen year old boy growing up in a primitive post-apocalyptic Earth. David Mitchell intertwines their lives in one simple novel.

"A half-finished book is a half-finished love affair."
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, page 64
This was such an interesting read because David Mitchell didn't stick with just one genre as he explores all six different worlds he has created. It bounces from historical fiction to science fiction to post-apocalyptic. This may seem like it would be confusing to read, but it's really not. Its distinctive when he switches stories. The best part is, I got sucked into each story. None were any worse than the others.
Each of David Mitchell's characters in this novel had a separate voice. Each story has an upside and a downside; nothing is perfect. But when writing six separate stories I think it would be extremely difficult to make sure there's no repetition or one story filters into another. Nothing of that sort happened in this novel. The setup of this book begins with Adam Ewing. Then, about halfway through Adam's story, Robert Frobisher's begins. The pattern continues until Zachry Bailey's. That story continues until its finish and then the book returns to the second half of Sonmi-451's story. Then the book continues to the end of Sonmi-451, Timothy Cavendish, etc. until finally, Adam Ewing writes the final entry in his journal.
Cloud Atlas was made into a movie of which I haven't seen. I would like to see how they interpreted it onscreen.
Cloud Atlas is a unique novel. As much as it may seem confusing, it's not. each character has their own voice and David Mitchell does an excellent job of tying all the stories together so they're not random. Sometimes the individual stories ended a bit abruptly. I wouldn't immediately skip to the second half of the story because you'll miss some crucial details in between.
The Cover: I love how it portrays different versions of the clouds. And there are six! One for every character. 

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