Celeste Ng's Reviews > Cloud Atlas

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
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Sep 24, 12

Read from August 22 to September 24, 2012

An exploration of power--and the power of narration, and one of the most thought-provoking books I've read in a while. Reading in the current political climate, I found this passage particularly striking. In the 1970's--(view spoiler)--one of the main characters, Luisa, listens to a set of triplets talk politics:


"What would I do," says one triplet, "if I was president? First, I'd aim to win the Cold War, not just aim to not lose it."

Another takes over. "I wouldn't kowtow to Arabs whose ancestors parked camels on lucky patches of sand..."

"...or to red gooks. I'd establish---I'm not afraid to say it---our country's rightful---corporate---empire. Because if we don't do it..."

"...the Japs'll steal the march. The corporation is the future. We need to let business run the country and establish a true meritocracy."

"Not choked by welfare, unions, 'affirmative action' for amputee transvestite colored homeless arachnophobes..."

"A meritocracy of acumen. A culture that is not ashamed to acknowledge that wealth attracts power..."

"...and that the wealthmakers---us---are rewarded. When a man aspires to power, I ask one simple question: 'Does he think like a businessman?'"

Luisa rolls her napkin into a compact ball. "I ask three simple questions. How did he get that power? How is he using it? And how can it be take off the sonofabitch?"
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