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Paperback Cloud Atlas Book

ISBN: 0375507256

ISBN13: 9780375507250

Cloud Atlas

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

SHORTLISTED FOR THE INTERNATIONAL BOOKER PRIZE - By the New York Times bestselling author of The Bone Clocks . . .

One of the New York Times's 100 Best Books of the 21st Century

A postmodern visionary and one of the leading voices in twenty-first-century fiction, David Mitchell combines flat-out adventure, a Nabokovian love of puzzles, a keen eye for character, and a taste for mind-bending, philosophical...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

It had some upside

Just didn’t wow me. It was a good book but took me a bit to get through it. There was only really one story line I truly enjoyed

Original, Enchanting, Unforgettable

Mitchell is truly a fantastic author. I enjoy most of his works, but Cloud Atlas is the one that started it all for me. I think about this book often, though I haven’t read it in several years. Narration/POV changes can be off-putting, but Mitchell does it well and kept me engaged.

Dazzling Novel Brings Unity to Six Stories of Inhumanity

This is one book where I honestly can't wait for the movie version, as author David Mitchell has a cinematic sense of narrative that juggles with time like a Quentin Tarantino and sprawls vividly amid exotic locations like a David Lean. This would be an impressive achievement even for the most accomplished writer, much less one as relatively new to the literary scene as Mitchell, as he interweaves six individual stories, each one set in a unique time and locale, into amazingly, one cohesive novel. The discrete stories are told in parts and sometimes out of order, but they tie together through intersections, coincidences and the clever notion that every central character is a reincarnation of a previous character. Perhaps that concept borders on being contrived, but somehow the ploy works beautifully due to Mitchell's full-blooded commitment to his themes. Spanning times, continents and cultures, Mitchell focuses on the follies that would subjugate humanity - slavery, corporate greed, and of nationalistic politics. The utterly nonlinear novel begins with the 18th-century diary of Adam Ewing, a San Francisco notary who is traveling by ship in the South Pacific (story #1). Story #2 follows in 1931 when a sexually indecisive, aspiring composer named Robert Frobisher serves as amanuensis to an older, more accomplished composer. Story #3 jumps to the 1970's where a reporter named Luisa Rey investigates a cover-up at a nuclear reactor (think of Karen Silkwood), and Story #4 focuses on a 60-ish book editor named Tim Cavendish who finds himself accidentally imprisoned in a home for the elderly. A near-future vision of Korea is the setting of story #5 where a genetically engineered ''fabricant'' named Sonmi-451 is interrogated for her crime of wanting to be fully human, and finally, story #6, the most devastating of all, a Hawaiian ruminates on a post-apocalyptic life. Mitchell is particularly strong in describing the Hawaiian landscape, populated by primitives, tribal warfare and brutal violence. Somni returns here as God for the tribesman protagonist Zachry. Then all the unfinished stories are completed in backward order, a creative stroke at once maddening and fulfilling. Through birth, death and rebirth, Mitchell raises some tough questions that give the reader pause. This is a dense work driven by an appropriately dark vision, and one could certainly get caught up in the plot convolutions if a full commitment is not made to the audacious concept he has presented here. The title of this book is apt, as this is a map of ever-changing clouds alternately revealing and hiding a world that evolves on common paths. Make sure to concentrate when you read this complex book because it's a winner for the patient among us.

Possibly the greatest novel of the 21st Century

I thought David Mitchell was immensely precocious and talented when I read Ghostwritten, though not many of my friends were as taken with it as I was. Having just finished Cloud Atlas, I am thrilled to report that --in my opinion-- his promise has been realized -- and in such a brief time. The book is more than an endlessly fascinating puzzle. Each of the six characters and stories interwoven here are riveting from literary, aesthetic and philosophical standpoints as well as being great narrative page-turners. You might think that Mitchell was six different writers - all equally brilliant. This is not quite like anything you have ever read before - a new form and vision for a new century.

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!

There are several levels at which one can appreciate David Mitchell's fantastic novel, Cloud Atlas, and like the novel's narrative, they unfold out of each other. The first level is the novel's construction. Cloud Atlas is made up of six narratives. Each narrative begins, is interrupted by the next, and then they resume in opposite order. Like a child opening a matrioshka doll, the reader delves deeper and deeper into Mitchell's world, and is sent careening back out. This device might sound difficult or confusing, but it is fascinating, especially as echoes of earlier narratives appear in the later ones. The book becomes a treasure hunt - an active exploration. The second level is Mitchell's artistry. Each narrative is told in a different style - diary entries, letters, a mystery, a farce, an interview, and a tale told around a fire. Mitchell's ability to mimic each voice is so perfect that it is difficult to credit that he is the ventriloquist behind these six souls. He captures perfectly the vivid and memorable protagonists (and, in all but one case, narrators) of his six stories. At turns witty, hilarious and heartbreaking, they remain indelible in the reader's mind, thanks to Mitchell's facility with language. Up until this point it might be possible to dismiss Cloud Atlas as clever and fun, but Mitchell truly has something to say along with a clever way of saying it. Mitchell touches on so many themes and ideas in this relatively short book. Cloud Atlas is a kaleidescopic view of kindness and cruely, civilization and barbarism, enslavement and release. Through it all, the power of art, of history and of faith endures. Cloud Atlas combines three qualities that any devoted reader should be looking for - clever and challenging narrative, excellent writing, and heart. I highly recommend it to any reader looking for an unusual, thought-provoking book.

Cloud Atlas Mentions in Our Blog

Cloud Atlas in 10 Delightfully Tricksy Stories
10 Delightfully Tricksy Stories
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • March 31, 2021

Do you like surprises? On the eve of April Fool's Day we feature ten tales that will make you ask, "What is even happening?!" Each of these stories—spanning a wide array of genres and styles—has a trick or two up its sleeve.

Cloud Atlas in 9 Book Releases We’re Looking Forward To (And What to Read First)
9 Book Releases We’re Looking Forward To (And What to Read First)
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • March 13, 2020

There are a lot of exciting new books coming out! Here are nine of our most highly anticipated titles in the next several months, plus related reads you can get right now.

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