Ori Fienberg's Reviews > Cloud Atlas

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
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's review
Oct 27, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: good-yarns, loooonnnngggg-and-good, will-make-you-a-better-person
Recommended to Ori by: Gabriel Houck
Recommended for: post-post-modernists, sci-fi fans, poetry lovers
Read in October, 2008 , read count: 1

Maybe four and half stars. Maybe less. I've been going back and forth.

Depending on what you look for in a reading experience this may be a book that you have to work your way through. The connections become apparent even by the 2nd section, but the full impact can't be felt until the end. Yes, I know that's the case with most books, but with other books you generally know what to expect after the first 100 pages. Since this book is composed of multiple narrators it leaves the reader on unstable ground. The different characters are masterfully done, but each is so very stylized that it can be difficult to settle in. This is probably my main complaint about this book. Yes, Mitchell embodies each of the different narrators beautifully, but everyone feels stiltedly stylized, just a bit archaic in tone and diction, even those set in the future. Even so, while you may have to work hard to get to the end you are amply rewarded. Over the next few days you'll be struck, out of the blue by another connection, theme, or life lesson understood.

Another note:

Apparently David Mitchell used the strategy of multiple narratives for his first two books as well, which makes me fear that rather than using an intriguing approach for this novel he was simply doing what he knows how to do. Even if this is true the book was still great, it just no longer has the same virtuoso originality.

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