Lisa's Reviews > Cloud Atlas

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
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's review
Sep 11, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: contemporary-writers, booker-short-list, experimental-fiction, odd-books, science-fiction, historical-fiction, mystery, rule-unto-itself, favorites
Read from December 22, 2011 to January 09, 2012 — I own a copy

I was going to say this is "guaranteed to blow your mind." Then I thought, naw... While experimental in his genre leaping, interlocking Mobius strip narrative, Mitchell never loses focus of the important elements of a novel- it has something to say and it says it well. Check and check. Authors who attempt tour de forces and experimentation can have a tendency to leave the reader scratching his head wondering what the hell is going on. Mitchell's echoing stories are very accessible with a caveat to which I will come back, and just fine, fine storytelling. The caveat. One chapter takes us to 19th century sailing, another to a future world and the middle story to an even later post-apocalyptic future world. The vocabulary in the first can be archaic and its references obscure if you are not familiar with that time period. While some may accuse Mitchell of purple prose in this section, that would be missing the point of who the narrator is, an educated 19th century gentleman. Anyone familiar with journals of this sort will see that the language is excellently suited. The other potentially challenging sections are the two futuristic ones. As is often the case with futuristic stories there is an argot, partly invented, and partly appropriating common words and giving them new meanings. With a modicum of patience these can be easily deciphered. Readers who have muddled through Hoban's Ridley Walker or Burgess's A Clockwork Orange will have not trouble.

I will not attempt to describe the plot or characters since there are 6 separate but interlocking sets. There are continuing thematic threads-identity, freedom, self, life progressions, failure of assumption, betrayal....the nature of truth, the role of stories.

Highly recommended.
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Reading Progress

12/29/2011 page 78
01/01/2012 page 100
20.0% "Brilliant story telling; love the interweaving."
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Amy (new) - rated it 2 stars

Amy I still wasn't crazy about the book -- the movement was too much for me when I read it. Even though I didn't give it a lot of stars, in my memory I liked it, and am always surprised to find I rated it so poorly, especially since I keep recommending it to people!

Lisa I loved it. The middle story was my least favorite. I rather wanted it to end so I could figure out how the others would be resolved. I can see how the changing would bother some readers. I found it piqued my interest more.

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