Debs's Reviews > Cloud Atlas

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
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's review
Nov 12, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: contemporary-fiction
Read in February, 2011

This book...where to even begin? On the back cover Michael Chabon says something about getting to live in the worlds Mitchell creates. I thought that was a really apt description of how I felt as I read this book. Each chapter is it's own masterpiece, a complete universe of time and geography, culture and history. They fold out into each other and then fold back in to their own spaces with a grace and a kind of intellectual acrobatics I haven't had the pleasure of reading in a long time.

This book...Mitchell achieves what so many authors try to do but fail to do. He is clever, but not self-satisfied. There's no "look at how smart and good I am" pretense running underneath the prose, when there could have been at so many moments. (Zadie Smith - take a lesson!)

I could go on and on about the various themes: history, slavery, intellectual property, but I will just say that Mitchell made me think for 500 pages. I wasn't always satisfied with every outcome, and I'm not sure the second half of the book is quite as well crafted as the first, but I enjoyed living in the worlds he created.


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