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Editorial Reviews. From Publishers Weekly. At once audacious, dazzling, pretentious and Cloud Atlas: A Novel - Kindle edition by David Mitchell. Download it. Editorial Reviews. Review. Now a major motion picture starring Tom Hanks, Halle Cloud Atlas - Kindle edition by David Mitchell. Download it. Cloud Atlas: A Novel by David Mitchell. Read online, or download in secure EPUB format.

David Mitchell Cloud Atlas Ebook

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Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. For Hana and her Grandparents. The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing. Thursday, 7th November–. Beyond the Indian hamlet, upon. Cloud Atlas: A Novel. Home · Cloud Atlas: A Novel Author: Mitchell David Stephen More Free Ebook: Cloud . Praise for Cloud Atlas “[David] Mitchell is, clearly, a genius. He writes as though at the helm of some perpetual dream machine, can evidently.

Digital original. Help Centre. My Wishlist Sign In Join. Cloud Atlas By: David Mitchell. Be the first to write a review. Share This eBook:. Add to Wishlist. Instant Download. Description eBook Details Click on the cover image above to read some pages of this book!

The Hobbit. A Storm of Swords: Steel and Snow Book 3, Part 1: A Song of Ice and Fire. Shoeless Joe. Ender's Game Ender Series, book 1. Planet of the Apes. Under the Dome. As Ayrs tells him in a final confrontation: The will to power, the backbone of human nature. The threat of violence, the fear of violence, or actual violence is the instrument of this dreadful will. You can see the will to power in bedrooms, kitchens, factories, unions, and the borders of states.

Listen to this and remember it. The nation-state is merely human nature inflated to monstrous proportions. QED, nations are entities whose laws are written by violence. Thus it ever was, so ever shall it be Rights are susceptible to subversion, as even granite is susceptible to erosion. In corpocracy, this means the Juche. What is willed by the Juche is the tidy xtermination of a fabricant underclass. Meronym provides a cautionary perspective on the future that may await us in our zeal to acquire power in all its forms: The Prescient answered, Old Uns tripped their own Fall.

More what? Oh, more gear, more food, faster speeds, longer lifes, easier lifes, more power, yay. Luisa Rey presents another form of power: However, what happens when the media is co-opted by the same corporate powers which it should be scrutinizing?: The corporations have money, power, and influence. Our sole weapon is public outrage. Outrage blocked the Yuccan Dam, ousted Nixon, and in part, terminated the monstrosities in Vietnam.

But outrage is unwieldy to manufacture and handle. First, you need scrutiny; second, widespread awareness; only when this reaches a critical mass does public outrage explode into being. Any stage may be sabotaged. The media—and not just The Washington Post —is where democracies conduct their civil wars.

After considering the kaleidoscope of human power and greed in Cloud Atlas , are we left with any hope for the future, or is Mitchell leaving us with a pessimistic prognosis? Cloud Atlas provides a staggering exploration of different manifestations of power and greed over centuries of human history: In spite of these dark depictions of the negative influence of the human quest for power, Mitchell does provide some hope that individuals can and do make a difference.

Luisa Rey and her allies uncover the publicize the deception and danger of Seaboard Power Inc.. Zachry and Meronym band together and manage to survive plague and attacks from the Kona.

Sonmi sacrifices herself for the good of the fabricants, and lives on in the religious practices of the Old Uns and the studies of the Prescients.

"cloud atlas by david mitchell."

Fittingly, Mitchell gives Adam Ewing the last word, as he reflects on his experiences after his rescue from poisoning and drowning: I am not deceived.

It is the hardest of worlds to make real. A life spent shaping a world I want Jackson to inherit, not one I fear Jackson shall inherit, this strikes me as a life worth the living. Just as Mitchell channels his concerns about his son's future through Ewing's words, so does he provide us with a clear sense of how critical our individual choices are in shaping our own children's future.

Individuals are not swept aside by the forces of history--one by one, we make up these forces. The actual future of our species and our planet is in our hands. Will we act for a just world, or sit back and contribute to the demise of our planet through inaction, or greed, or cowardice? These pivotal questions, and this critical choice, give Cloud Atlas its power. Jan 17, karen rated it really liked it Shelves: Apr 19, Jason rated it it was amazing Shelves: At the Museum of Science in Boston, there is an exhibit just outside the doors of the Planetarium that demonstrates—through a series of adjacent panels—the scale of the Earth in relation to the universe at large.

Reading Cloud Atlas is like zooming out from a point on the Earth to the edge of the universe and then back in again, as represented by those aforementioned panels. Do we need a visual aid? This novel, of course, has little to do with the cosmos, but the analogy is fitting for describing the vastness of its scope. The novel then goes even further into the future, so far in fact that it becomes indistinguishable from the past, and like the reverse zoom in the video above, the novel collapses back in on itself, ending exactly where it began.

Throughout history, humans have enslaved each other on the basis of skin color and racial background, religious beliefs and cultural or ethnic differences. The weak have been enslaved to the strong, the old to the young, and the poor to the well-to-do. This novel goes a step further by exploring the concept of knowledge and how it relates to the socioeconomic hierarchy of the future. Knowledge is all that separates us from savagery, and yet it is our most transient asset.

I am probably making this book sound like a course in sociology, though it is anything but. Cloud Atlas is a brilliantly constructed novel delineating the cyclicality of human civilization and it is written by someone who has immediately become one of my favorite authors. Unable to choose among the various genres of fiction available, he ends up Cloud Atlas is historical fiction, it is a dark comedy, it is a crime thriller, it is science fiction, it is a post-apocalyptic dystopia.

The middle chapter, while the most difficult to read, is easily my favorite. However, this quest is a double-edged sword that becomes its own downfall, since domination is a self-defeating goal, and it is this downfall that ultimately causes civilization to collapse. But despite its bleak forecasts, Cloud Atlas inspires a glimmer of hope for our future, for as insignificant as one person may be, as much as one fathoms his life to have no impact greater than that of a single drop in a limitless ocean, the question is posed: Sep 05, Nataliya rated it really liked it Recommended to Nataliya by: I was a third into this book and I could not care less about it.

It didn't seem we were meant to be. Then suddenly my heart was aching for the characters and their stories, and it did catch me by surprise. And now it's been a week since I finished it, and I still find myself thinking about it.

You've wormed your way into my heart and I'd better make my peace with it. Why did I resist liking it so much? Why did this book and I have such a rocky sta I was a third into this book and I could not care less about it. Why did this book and I have such a rocky start to our relationship? Sheesh, let me think about it as I lie here on the imaginary psychiatrist's couch in Freudian times.

You see, its 'revolutionary structure' and all - it is basically six stories, five of which are arranged like concentric rings around one central uninterrupted story, slowly moving from A to Z as the stories go along from Adam to Zachry , - leads even the author to question, "Revolutionary or gimmicky?

Jarring, unnecessary, trying too hard and yet being needlessly distracting. Hey, you can also compare this book to the rings a raindrop makes in still waters. See, I can be allegorically poetic when need arises. Would I have been easier for me to love it had it come simply as a collection of six stories related by the larger overarching theme?

But we cannot always chose what the things we love look like, can we? Sometimes they just have to have that incredibly annoying anvil-heavy comet-shaped birthmark, and I have to make my peace with it. They are never properly extinguished. What sparks wars? Thus it ever was, so ever shall it be. War, Robert, is one of humanity's two eternal companions.

About the never-ending power struggle that seems to be inherent to humanity, that drives it forward - until one day it perhaps drives it to the brink of demise. It's about the amazing resilience of humanity that bends but never breaks under the never-ending forward march of the power struggle.

It is about our seemingly inevitable separation into the opposing camps - the oppressors and the oppressed, the powerful and the powerless, the haves and the have-nots, justifying those sometimes murky and sometimes crisp division lines with the arbitrary but hard-to-overturn notions of superiority and entitlement.

It is also about the never-ending human struggle against such division, in one form or another. Maoris prey on Moriori, Whites prey on darker-hued cousins, fleas prey on mice, cats prey on rats, Christians on infidels, first mates on cabin boys, Death on the Living.

The weak are meat, the strong do eat. See how smart I am? Can I please have a cookie now? The revelations at which both Adam and Zachry arrive are simple and perhaps overly moralistic, but still relevant and humane. And despite the moralistic heavy-handedness, I loved them.

Because of this: Yes, the Devil shall take the hindmost until the foremost is the hindmost. In an individual, selfishness uglifies the soul; for the human species, selfishness is extinction. I hate to say it, but Robert Frobisher's story the composer of the titular Cloud Atlas musical piece left me cold.

Luisa Rey's pulpy cheap prose held my attention only for the first half of the story and Timothy Cavendish's flowery adventure - only for the second. Sonmi for the first half of the story was delightfully reminding me of The Windup Girl that I loved, and fell flat in the rushed second part. It almost felt that some of these stories were too large for the limited amount of space Mitchell could give them, and they would have been benefited from expansion. But the Sloosha Crossing story - Zachry's tale - won me over completely, once I got over the migraine induced by overabundance of apostrophes in this futuristic simplistic dialect.

S'r's'l'y', Mr. Mitchell, there had to have been some perhaps less 'authentic' but also less headache-causing way to tell this story. But I got over the initial defensive response and allowed myself to enjoy this scary postapocalyptic setting which in so many ways reminded me of The Slynx by Tatiana Tolstaya.

There is just something that I love about the postapocalyptic primitive society setup, something that speaks to me while terrifying me to death at the same time, and this story had plenty of that. And now, apparently, there will be a movie, which explains why everyone and their grandma is reading this book now, getting me on the bandwagon as well. The movie, that from the trailer seems to be focusing on the part that made me eye-roll just like it made Mr.

Cavendish, editing Luisa Rey manuscript! I thought the hints at it were unnecessary dramatic; to me enough of a connection came from all of the characters belonging to our troubled and yet resilient human race. But to each their own. And maybe someday in the future I will reread it being prepared for the gimmicky structure, and I will not let it annoy me, and I will maybe give it five stars. I would love that! View all 84 comments. May 08, Fabian rated it it was amazing Shelves: One of the most outstanding, hugely epic sagas ever.

There seem to be six distinct writers in "Cloud Atlas"--distinct, original tableaux: Mitchell is authentic in every story. These really are "found objects" placed in blatant, cunning contrast with each other.

David Mitchell

But that they were all borne from one fountainhead--from one single and chameleonic probably the most chameleonic I have encountered since Peruvian Mario Vargas Llo One of the most outstanding, hugely epic sagas ever.

But that they were all borne from one fountainhead--from one single and chameleonic probably the most chameleonic I have encountered since Peruvian Mario Vargas Llosa's mind--this is the reason the novel is now a classic.

The movie is a very adequate companion piece, as the myriad loose ends are genuinely brought forth and rendered poetic. View all 18 comments. Dec 05, Lyn rated it it was amazing. I mean he'd have to be ten times more charmin' than that Arnold on Green Acres, you know what I'm sayin'? Awright, check this out; I just finished reading this book called Cloud Atlas.

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Cloud Atlas? Go on. Serving up a Royale wit cheese! OK, ok, wait. But … that may be something upon which I can ponder as I walk the earth. Right, but then, see, he goes back and finishes all six stories, going back from future Hawaii, to the Chinese girl — Jules: Thought you said she was Korean? Whatever, then to the old guy, then the girl in California in the 70s to the English musician and then back to the dude in the s.

Alright, I can see that. That is pretty cool, kinda familiar too. Right, right, and by doing so the writer creates a dramatic tension between each segment, adding depth and interest to an already cool story. Honey Bunny: View all 37 comments. Sep 24, s. Here you will encounter six stories, linked across time, that, like individual notes of a chord, each resonate together to form a greater message than just the sum of their parts. He protested, saying that you can only have one or the other.

I agreed with him that this is typically the case, yet I insisted that Cloud Atlas was the exception to this rule. While each individual story has an exciting plot full of unexpected twists, often incorporating a Hollywood action or sci-fi style, Mitchell manages to elevate the novel into a higher realm of literature. Mitchell, who studied English at the University of Kent, receiving a master in Comparative Literature thanks wiki!

There is also a sense of an evolution of language, showing past trends progressing into our current speech, and then passing forward where corporate name brands will become the identifier of an object all cars are called fords, handheld computers are all called sonys, all movies are called disneys , and then even further forward as language begins to disintegrate. The themes of the novel also seem to move in a cyclical pattern, showing repeating itself.

As stated earlier, Mitchell was inspired by Calvino's If on a winter's night a traveler in which the Reader is exposed to several different novels within the novel, each with a very distinct voice and style, only to be forever thwarted from finishing just as the action rises. Mitchell takes this idea and expands upon it, with each story ending abruptly yet still resonating in the following story, which then leads us to the next and the next until finally we reach the midpoint of the novel.

Follow the Author

I do not want to spoil too much of this novel, especially his way of each story being a part of the next, but by page 64 you will understand. There will be a paragraph that will drop your jaw and melt your mind as you realize Mitchell has something special here in his method of telescoping stories.

Essentially, each major character leaves an account of a crucial storyline of their lives, which in turn is read or viewed later through history by another character during a crucial moment in their lives. An added flair is that many of the characters relate to their current events by comparing it to characters or ideas from previous stories, one character even becoming a deity figure to future generations.

There is a good interview with Mitchell in the Washington Post where he explains his methods. Mitchell employs other metafictional techniques, such as having his characters each reflect on the style of the novel as would make sense for their unique world. In the first set, each solo is interrupted by its successor: Revolutionary or gimmicky?

Mitchell himself calls the style to the table, asking the reader if it is really a revolutionary idea, or if it falls flat as a gimmick. There are many instances where Mitchell inserts a bemused reflection on his own work, wondering if he is actually pulling off the magic trick.

Each story visited is as if cracking open the cover of a different book by a different author each time the switch occurs. Mitchell does his homework and spent plenty of time researching each story to make sure the history, setting and language would all be realistic. As all but the spy-thriller story of Luisa Rey are told in first person, Mitchell has his work cut out for him to craft a unique voice for each narrator.

And he pulls it off brilliantly. This attention to detail and nuance is what really sold me on Cloud Atlas. Mitchell toys with his knowledge of literature, molding each story from the recipes of classic literature. There are even small events that trigger a memory of classic works; Frobisher is passenger in a car that runs down a pheasant which is described in a way that would remind one of a certain accident involving a yellow car at the tail end of a Fitzgerald novel.

He even takes a jab at Ayn Rand in the Luisa Rey story. Mitchell seems to intentionally build this novel from other novels, and highlights this to the reader most openly through Timothy Cavendish and Robert Frobisher. This honing of metafictional abilities is one of his greatest strengths and the second half of the novel is full of passages that speak on many different levels.

He uses this as opportunities to shamelessly quote, allude, and incorporate the ideas of other writers. While allusions are used for thematic reasons, some are more deeply hidden, sometimes in plain sights as Nabokov titles are used frequently, and occasionally he simply alludes to authors of each stories present time Luisa Rey's boss was mugged after having lunch with Norman Mailer to make them feel more rooted to the literary culture of the time much as he does with the language and descriptions.

He even pokes fun at the reader a bit, acknowledging that the casual reader will not be able to pick up on these allusions, speaking through Cavendish: Mitchell appreciates and rewards the well-read reader with many of these subtle ironic jokes which are sprinkled all through-out the novel. He leaves so many little gems for a reader to find if they only take the time to read in between the lines and pay close attention.

Bill Smoke pure evil and Joe Napier an ally seem to pop up in some form in every story. I have noticed at least four other souls that seem to migrate through time in this novel. Like a healthy, well-balanced sense of self, Mitchell seems to be aware of his weaknesses as a writer and actually uses them to his advantage, making his weaknesses some of his biggest strengths.

It is clear, as the point has by now been driven into the ground, that Mitchell has aims to be taken seriously as a writer of literature, but his plots are such rapid-fire excitement with twists and turns and high climactic conclusions that he felt it necessary to be as literary as possible in all other aspects.

He compensates for any other shortcomings in a similar fashion. One of the ways the characters are linked together across time read it yourself if you want to know! I got a kick out of this and instantly forgave Mitchell for not being subtle enough with this technique of linking characters. There are several other moments when characters question the validity of other characters, often due to the same reasons a reader would criticize Mitchell. This ability to poke fun at himself and openly address his own shortcomings gave me a far greater respect for him.

He accepts that his ideas are not entirely original and counters anyone who might complain it has all been done before. It made me laugh. With all his cleverness and metafictional genius, Mitchell does have a few flaws that should be addressed. The main one being subtlety. He does apologize for it and poke fun at himself, but some of the major themes in this novel did not need to be called out directly.

They were easily detectable in between the lines, yet Mitchell has each main character spell them out in dialogue. It worked since he had each character do it, applying the message of The Will to Power and the strong killing the weak to each characters situation to create a sense of symmetry, but it was ultimately superfluous, but this being my only real criticism, Mitchell isn't doing too bad. The issue of subtlety is where Calvino gets an upper hand on Mitchell, as his novel was a bit more controlled in its message and layering of meanings.

Cloud Atlas is a bit more accessible than If on a winter's Both novels should enter your "to read list" however. All in all, this novel is a brilliant puzzle filled with exciting characters, entertaining dialogue, and throws enough loops to keep you guessing. You will find it very difficult to put this novel down.

Mitchell achieves his goal of transcending conventions and addressing the broad scope of humanity and is at times bitter, funny, frightening, paranoid, and downright tragic. Make sure to have a pen handy, as there are plenty of mesmerizing quotes to return to and ponder, especially in the second half of the novel. David Mitchell is most definitely an author to be read and admired.

Mitchell gives us this novel as a warning, and I do hope we take it to heart. I wish this novel had credits like at the end of the film just so Reckoner by Radiohead could blast my eardrums as final lines sunk in. It would be perfect.

Sep 20, brian rated it it was ok. View all 59 comments. Jul 31, Maciek rated it liked it Shelves: Hey readers Look at the book you're reading Now back at the book you're reading Sadly, that book was probably not written by me.

But if you'd check out my book, Cloud Atlas , you'd know that I could have written it if I just wanted to. Look back at the book Who's that? That's me, the author of Cloud Atlas , which is the book you could have been reading. What's in your hand? It's Cloud Atlas , which is a historical novel about a pacific Hey readers It's Cloud Atlas , which is a historical novel about a pacific voyage all the way back in the 's.

Back at me. Now back at Cloud Atlas. Look, it's now a thriller.

And look again. Cloud Atlas is now science fiction. Anything is possible when a book contains several stories inside Cloud Atlas is arguably David Mitchell's all right, I'll stop pretending - that's him in the pictures most famous novel - and if it isn't, it certailnly will be after the Wachowskis will turn it into a big budged movie - the trailer is not that bad looking.

The novel itself is critically acclaimed - it won the British Book Awards Literary Fiction Award, and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and even nominated for two of the prestigious awards given to works of science fiction - the Nebula and Arthur C.

Clarke award. So what should we, the readers, make of Cloud Atlas? By now, probably everyone interested in reading it has heard that it's composed of six different storylines, all of which interact with each other in some way. The single most impressive thing about the novel is the fact that the author adapts a unique narrative voice for each of these sections, making Cloud Atlas a feat of literary ventriloquism.

The six storylines are also different in structure, setting and timelines. The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing opens the novel: He falls sick, and seeks help from a suspicious doctor who looks at his money with hungry eyes, and also learns a bit of the native history: Letters from Zedelghem is the next sequence, and as the title suggests it's epistolary.

The titular letters are written by Robert Frobisher to Rufus Sixmith. Frobisher is a completely broke English musician who buys his daily bread by being a hired hand for a Belgian composer - Ayrs. Despite the implications that Sixmith is his lover, Frobisher starts an affair with Ayr's wife and it does not help that Ayrs also has a young daughter. The First Luisa Rey Mystery is the next section which tells the tale of Louisa Rey, a journalist who follows the lead that some nuclear plants are unsafe and can blow up the world: Dressed up as a thriller, it is definitely the most fast paced section of the novel and does a convincig job at passing as a grocery store rack paperback novel.

The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish is probably my favorite section: Only when he arrives he discovers that the hideaway is a nursing home; Cavendish is an extremely likeable old codger and lots of hilarity ensues as he attempts to break free. It gets downhill from here. Overused dystopian tropes abound: Far future, immensely opressive totalitarian society, corporate overlords, genetically engingered slaves cannibalism! To top the cake it is set in futuristic Korea, complete with "the Beloved Chairman" who is in control of All Things.

Not very, um, subtle, you know. Sloosha's Crossin' an' Ev'rythin' After or Trainspotting in Space continues with the science fiction theme, and is set in post-apocalyptic Hawaii.

Humanity has been almost completely wiped out during "The Fall". Zachry, the protagonist, is an old man recounting his teenage years, when he met Meronym, a member of a former advanced civilization. The section overuses apostrophes to an almost ridiculous extent, making me regret ever complaining about the simplicity of spelling changes in the Somni section.

The style hangs over the content unmercifully, like a sharp sword, ready to drop at any moment to cut your reading enjoyment - and does exactly that, all the time. After Slosha we return to the preceding stories yet again, this time in the reverse order, going back in time: Beginning with futuristic tale of Somni and ending with the concluding entries of the journal of Adam Ewing, in the 's.

So what is the big deal? The structure. However, I found these connections to be sketchy at best: For example, Ewing's journal is conveniently found by Frobisher at a bookshelf of his Belgian employer; Rufus Sixmith, the addressee of Frobisher's letters just happens to be a whistleblower collaborating with Louisa Rey; Louisa Rey's story is a manuscript that Cavendish is offered for publication; Cavendish's goofy adventure is a Disney romp watched by Somni in the far future, and Somni herself is a goddess worshipped by Zachry, who knows her story from a futuristic recording device.

There are further attempts to stitch these stories together - a recurring birthmark, one character seemingly remembering a piece of music from another time, the recurrence of the number six - six stories, a character named Sixmith who is If the "nested dolls" analogy passed you by, the author has Isaac Sachs, an engineer how appropriate!

Frobisher's musical masterpiece to be is called The Cloud Atlas Sextet , which he describes as: In the first set, each solo is interrupted by its successor; in the second, each interruption is recontinued, in order. It seems to me as if the author did not trust his readers and had to spell out his game in fear of being misunderstood, or worse: He also seems to see critics coming, and in the next sentence Frobisher thinks about his work: Shan't know until it's finished, and by then it'll be too late.

Sometimes it's done in an almost humorous way: Timothy Cavendish mutters that "Soylent Green is people", and that some geeks must be "Cloning humans for shady Koreans" - which is exactly what happens in the Somni section. Revolutionary or Gimmicky? For this jury Cloud Atlas does not have what it takes to be revolutionary, meaning something The structure of the novel appears to be complex at the first glance, but during actual reading shows itself as not overly complex, and the author makes sure that the reader will understand it.

The stories themselves are not strong enough to stand on their own: The tyranical Big Brother regime and the opressed sentient beings who should not be capable of complex thought but are, which dates back to Yevgeny Zamyatin's brillian novel We , which has been written in To give the author credit the dystopian formula has been firmly estabilished and exploited - currently especially on the young adult market and it's quite difficult if not downright impossible to come up with any innovations: The recurring theme of Cloud Atlas is enslavement and exploitation of human beings.

Ewing is exposed to enslavement of one tribe by another and is forced to decide the fate of a person; penniless Frobisher is forced to leave England for Belgium, where he is drawn into a net cast by an aging composer, who wants to exploit his talent; Louisa Rey is fighting the capitalist ubermench who do not care about the dangers of a nuclear reactor.

Tinmothy Cavendish has to escape from dangerous people and literally becomes enslaved in a home for the elderly; Sonmi is a genetically enginereed fabricant who was made to be used. Throughout the ages, the weaker are controlled, abused and exploited by the stronger, who want even more riches and strenght. Does Cloud Atlas offer a new look at it? The book opposes the notion of survival of the fittest, where "the weak are the meat that the strong eat" - and this is obviously wrong.

But in the year when it was published did we not know that already? The dangers of capitalism and the money-oriented western civilization, its contemporary face being the Louisa Rey sections and the gloomy vision of the future shown in the Orison of Somni; the post-colonial white guilt for which the vessel is the character of Adam Ewing.

Adam Ewing seems to exist to only espouse this notion; after being rescued by a Noble Savage he is told about the bloodthirst of the White Race by the Doctor who is the Evil character since this is how he was estabilished to be.

The morality play hits home and Ewing decides that the way the world is is Wrong and there is worth in striving for a seemingly impossible Change where everyone is Free. This storyline is not bad by default, but it is hardly original and there is hardly any place for ambiguity; I was surprised at the comparisons with Benito Cereno , which is probably my favorite work by Melville along with the brilliant Bartleby, the Scrivener - which is also about individualism and freedom, but in a completely different manner.

The genius of Melville's work lies in its ambiguity: There is little if any of this in Adam Ewing's journal; of course it's wrong to own another human being as property, and most of the humanity came to agree on this Melville's work was written in , when abolition was a controversial and dangerous issue; even though Adam Ewing's journal is set in that time period, we can't forget that it was created in the 's.

There is not enough originality or exceptionality to it, and solely by attempting to stress the human freedom it borders dangerously on the banal repetition of something done earlier and better. The author is at his best in the narratives of Frobisher and Cavendish, where he handles two drastically different characters with skill and verve. Both are Englishmen, though of different times and of different age and profession: Frobisher is young, cynical, cunning, brash and unapologetic; Cavendish is elderly, sheepish, slow and silly.

It is in these two narratives where the author's talent really shines; he writes with panache and flamboyance, and his whimsical humor is contrasted with rawness and emotion. Frobisher's egoism and frustration are off-putting, and yet the reader cannot help but feel some sympathy for his character and wish him good in creating the work of his life; Cavendish's geriatric adventure is surprisingly rollicking and full of charm.

It is their stories which work the best in this book, and are the most affecting and memorable. On the whole, Cloud Atlas reads more as an exercise in trying to write stories in different genres and styles, and then weaving them together; ultimately, it does not really work. The majority of the stories are not strong enough to stand on their own, and there is not enough to bind them together; even the two stories I enjoyed suffer from being just a part of the whole which doesn't really work.

It lacks the profundity and depth it needs to be an important work; a more vicious critic would say that the author arranged his stories like matryoshkas to hide his inability to offer meaningful and perceptive insights into the human nature.

I doubt that Cloud Atlas is such a case, and because of this I can't wish it would have been all that it was said to be, profound and meaningful, offering a fresh approach to the subject which is so important.


But what can you say about things on which so many said so much over the centuries? Like clouds, Cloud Atlas eventually disperses, leaving in memory snapshots of its elements, and not the whole.

View all 69 comments. May 30, Cecily rated it it was amazing Shelves: This is definitely a book that is richer with rereading, but I still prefer his "Ghostwritten" http: Imagine six very different short books, each open at roughly the middle, then pile them up - and that is the structure of Cloud Atlas story 1a, 2a, 3a, 4a, 5a, 6, 5b, 4b, 3b, 2b, 1b.

The structure is echoed in this c This is definitely a book that is richer with rereading, but I still prefer his "Ghostwritten" http: The structure is echoed in this clever and very brief review: The structure of the film is entirely different: In the medium of film, I think it works quite well - if you already know the stories.

Each story is a separate and self-contained tale, told in a different format, voice and even dialect, but with similarities in theme and some overlapping characters. Connectedness and possibly reincarnation are perhaps the most obvious - and the themes themselves are often connected with other themes. In addition to connectedness, themes include: I think the overriding theme is the many, varied, but perhaps inevitable ways that humans exploit each other through power, money, knowledge, brute force, religion or whatever: Connectedness is much the strongest theme in the film, partly through rapid switching between stories to emphasize the parallels, and also because the same actors are used in multiple stories.

This story has particular parallels with Matthew Kneale's English Passengers https: He has a wealthy and educated background, but has been cut off from his family, so is in Belgium Edinburgh, in the film! This section opens with a visceral passion for music, which infuses this whole section; Frobisher hears music in every event: Frobisher is an unscrupulous opportunist very unlike Adam Ewing , but not without talent.

He is broke and either in trouble with mysterious forces or paranoid. Cavendish is a vanity publisher with an unexpected best-seller on his hands memoirs of a murderer. In the film, this section looks stunning, but the underlying philosophy is largely ignored.

There are plenty of nods to Orwell, Huxley and others — even to the extent that Somni mentions reading them.

What it means to be human, exemplified by the relative positions of purebloods and fabricants, are reminiscent of the slavery that Adam Ewing considers: She has a distinctively poetic voice, which lends beauty to the section of the book, but causes problems for her: See below for specific linguistic quirks, and here for my review of RW: Then one of the Prescient, Meronym, comes to stay for six months.

She wants to learn and observe, but many of the islanders fear her motives. Zachry is keen to explain himself and to learn from her. The deeper question in this section is who is exploiting whom there is also a warfaring tribe, the Kona?

When one character writes notes comparing the real and virtual past p , the levels of stories-within-stories and boundaries of fact and fiction are well and truly blurred, which is part of what this whole book is about. Is Luisa "real" in the context of the book? She doesn't always feel it, but there is a direct link between her and another character. Now the bifurcation of these two pasts will begin. However, the relationship between blacks and whites and even between man and wife exemplify the unequal power relationships that are common to all the stories.

Adam dreams of a more utopian world, though. Some people seem to dislike or struggle with this aspect, but I think it adds depth, interest and plausibility.

The corporate world of Somni 5 means that many former brand names have become common nouns as hoover, kleenex and sellotape already have: There are neologisms, too: Perhaps more surprisingly, a few words have simplified spelling: I telled him, hurrycane.

Luisa 3 sees Ewing's 1 ship, The Prophetess, in a marina. A film about Timothy Cavendish 4 is watched by Somni 5. She also has a memory of a car crash perhaps like Luisa 93? The oldest and newest stories are the weakest in my opinion, but the whole thing grows on you and builds your interest to a satisfying conclusion.

The story about a corporate controlled religious state contains the most biting social commentary and is a scarily accurate portrayal of where we are headed. Takes a while to build up steam, and the language is archaic and overly complex in the beginning, but it is worth your time. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell is impressive and quite unlike anything I have ever read.

It consists of six inter-related stories, the first five of which break off abruptly in the middle. The reader is left in suspense. After the fifth story, a sixth story is told, this time uninterrupted. That story, one of a post-apocalyptic world set in twenty-second century Hawaii, is the center piece of the book. Following it, the previously interrupted five stories are finished in reverse order. Thus, the structure of the book is: The main character in each story has some sort of connection to the main character in the next story.

Thus, all six characters are linked in some way, perhaps through reincarnation. At the very least, they all share a birthmark of similar shape and in a similar location. The characters are as follows. Three of the main characters are men. All but two, Forbisher and Cavendish who posses some redeeming qualities and are otherwise charming , are noble and exemplary human beings. Sonmi , although a fabricant, may be the most beautifully human of all.

Meronym, of the sixth story, and my favorite, is a brilliant, resourceful survivor of the post-apocalyptic world. She possesses toughness, compassion, skill, calmness and courage, all of which border on the super human. Accordingly, each story follows the prior story, chronologically. The future speak, e. There is so much going on in this book. I have not even scratched the surface. A major and recurring theme is the dichotomy among men and within man — that human beings are innately predatory and that life consists of eating or being eaten Nietzsche and the ideal of kindness and the moderation of desire Buddha, Jesus.

And so, the ending of the second story, which appears near the very end of the book, quotes Virgil. The reference is to Aeneas, who, while gazing at a mural that depicts his fallen Trojan comrades, cries out — sunt lacrimae rerum et mentem mortalia tangunt.

The world is a world of tears, and the burdens of mortality touch the heart. This makes a good summer epic novel because it begins and ends on the trade ship the Prophetess in the early 19th century, no matter the wind blows through six narrators and genres, past and future, with devious connection.

The highly stylized English is a contagious tour de force. Mitchell "mem'ry d " the literary and geopolitical universe in in Cloud Atlas. For less puzzler, read The Bone Clocks. A convoluted mess that wanders along several threads.

Found the one interesting thread and finished it across several chapters, then gave up on the book.

The reader follows a group of different people through reincarnations - starting with Adam Ewing. It seems that regardless if a character lived a full life or not, his or her story goes on. The reader also goes on a passage of time. On a side note:Takes a while to build up steam, and the language is archaic and overly complex in the beginning, but it is worth your time.

It's famously or infamously structured with a sextet of stories that range from the mids to the distant future. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet: Some had gotten zero out of twenty. The narrative then boomerangs back through centuries and space, returning by the same route, in reverse, to its starting point.

Sadly, that book was probably not written by me. Help Help, opens a new window.

CASSONDRA from Pueblo
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