Charlie's Reviews > Cloud Atlas

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
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's review
Feb 04, 12

it was amazing
bookshelves: fiction, sci-fi, favorites
Read from January 23 to February 02, 2012

This book is amazing.

I placed it alongside the two other books on my shelf reserved for "Best Sci-Fi Books I Have Read"

Neuromancer by William Gibson
Dune by Frank Herbert

David Mitchell's book can be loved and appreciated on several levels. Here's a breakdown of some of the traits that impressed me:


Mitchell takes six different stories and weaves them all together effortlessly in a nested structure. It seems simple enough at first. Start story A and then shift to story B (where someone was reading/experiencing story A).

It's novelty is charming at first, but as you shift to that next story, you have that initial uneasiness of leaving a story dangling behind you. Luckily his flow is so sublime that you become easily absorbed within the next shift, and once you discover the actual configuration of these nested stories you will be delighted.

There is more to these shifts in narrative than just the time and place of the settings of each. They are crafted in a very deft way to accent and complement the works as a whole.

To put it crassly: Think "Lost" meets "Inception" but done right and well (without the bullshit and the confusion).


The individual stories span several story genres; from historical sea adventures and modern thrillers, to dystopic futures. Mitchell wields each handily and maintains a cohesiveness that some can't handle with just a single genre!


His characters feel real to me. They come from many different races, cultures, and times, but I felt connected to each one of them. I remember them quite distinctly, like someone I could've actually known. It's rare for me when reading an epic that I can actually have clear recollections and identification with so many different characters.


The book moves at a brisk walk that does a good job of keeping that sensation of forward momentum and only dawdles occasionally (but when it does I never felt stagnant). Towards the second half of the book, it feels like you are locked into a smooth cruise control that ramps up just slightly enough to keep you exhilarated until the end.


So many different aspects of historical verasimilitude, cultural interactions, music, intrigue... damn. I felt surprised and giddy at many points with the stuff he could pull out of like nowhere!


Mitchell's ear for different languages, accents, and their use is wonderful music to mine own. Even better, listen to the audio version and really let that lingual juice seep into your headphones! Soooo good!


The style of the narratives is versatile. It adapts seamlessly to different parts of the book, and feels very polished and elegant.


Although this may be classified as a science fiction book, I think it transcends the bounds of its genre and stands as a solid piece of literature worthy of being taught in a classroom. Mitchell's command of so many different literary techniques as well as the substantive quality of the underlying themes of the book would even make English majors take notice.


It's also a damn good fucking read.

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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Soo (new) - added it

Soo Thoughts on it?

Charlie It was great. I'll post a review soon. :)

message 3: by Scott (new)

Scott Hey I have a question. Is this book explicit? Does it have profanity? Moreover, sexually explicit? Thanks!

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