Quinn Slobodian's Reviews > Cloud Atlas

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
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's review
Nov 01, 2010

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Read from November 01 to December 06, 2010

This book is Olympian. Because it literally feels like watching the Olympics, specifically the Winter Olympics, specifically snowboarding at the Winter Olympics, specifically the gold-medal winner in snowboarding at the Winter Olympics. It is almost literally unbelievable to watch this book launch and do things, gyrations in the air you never thought a novel could do then drop out of its parabola and glide away, pumping a gloved fist at the cameras and cheering crowd. I am in awe of and secretly hate this novel the way I am in awe of and secretly hate the Olympian snowboarder. There's something ungenerous about so much skill. The same way the snowboard stunt is bracketed movement, separated from everyday life, placed in the pristine space of the halfpipe to frame the body of the athlete completely, unsullied by other people, the world, etc., there was finally, something condescending about how pat the "life lessons" were by the end of this book amidst all its stylistic skill, as if he didn't want to blow our minds overly. I couldn't help but seeing Mitchell hitting ctrl-S with a gloved fist and walking out through the doorway of his office shadowboxing. Not tripping, not devastated, 10.0 in the cold.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Anna Leventhal Curious to hear what you think.

Quinn Slobodian I'll let you know! I'm trundling through. In the distant Korean future at the moment. Wondering where it will go from there...

Quinn Slobodian don't know if it tells you but i finished 'er, wrote something. why do i have a kind of sour aftertaste about this book? i loved it while reading it.

Anna Leventhal Yes, exactly. I couldn't explain why I felt so totally unmoved by something that absorbed me so thoroughly for the time I was reading it, but your review nailed it.

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