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Cloud Atlas
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Cloud Atlas (Spoilers)

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Brian | 33 comments Mod
I haven't started yet but I know a couple people are approaching the finish. This will be our spoilers thread.


Matthew (thecallahan) | 6 comments I liked the book a lot, I thought the ending was a little on the abrupt side. I know what the author was going for, I just wanted more.

I'm having trouble figuring out my favorite story, it's either the one with Frobisher or Sonmi, though I'm leading towards the latter. The exploration of what a soul is was done so well in that time-frame and the mental images I got from some of the fucked up shit was great as well.

I told Brian this but after reading the book I immediately want to see the movie that's coming out recently, I want to see how it brings the books to life, not only visually but with the slightly changed format they do for the movie.


Shaun Nelson | 18 comments I found this book a bit slow going at first but the third time I started it I finally continued and finished. Mitchell was very clever in the way he tied each of the "novellas" together, traversing from one story/time period to the next and back again. The writing is very intelligent and definitely challenged my vocabulary at times. I was a little underwhelmed with the anticlimactic ending. It was amazing how Mitchell blended different genres and writing styles, so many different voices and time periods...Enjoyable read, brilliant prose. I wanted to see the movie , but I see it is not getting good reviews and I am pretty over Tom Hanks these days.


Brian | 33 comments Mod
I am kind of interested in what you guys think the over arching themes were. I mean it is interesting how each story links to the next if you look carefully (well, not that carefully, it becomes more apparent later on) but I do feel like there was an attempt to make them all thematically fit together as well.


A.J. | 17 comments Brian wrote: "I am kind of interested in what you guys think the over arching themes were."

I'm not the best when it comes to examining literary themes, but here goes.

The two themes that I saw consistently between the stories were 1.) a basic examination of the ways in which human beings can be shitty to each other, and 2.) the emotions involved in human trust.

Ewing trusts that Dr. Goose is his friend, when in reality he very much isn't. (Meanwhile he and the slave Autua save each others' lives in the ultimate show of trust on both parts.)

Frobisher trusts that Ayrs will accept his help with his compositions in good faith, when in reality Ayrs seeks to use Frobisher's work as his own. Meanwhile, Frobisher completely breaks Ayrs' trust by fucking his wife. Oh, and Ayrs' wife isn't completely trustworthy in all this, either.

Luisa Rey's main objective is to expose the duplicitous nature of the businessmen behind the nuclear power plant.

Timothy Cavendish is committed, against his will, to a nursing home by a person he should be able to trust - his own brother.

In Sonmi~451's story, the fabricants are being duped by the government, and she in turn makes up a story designed to increase fabricant sympathy against pureblood oppression.

And then in Zachry's story, he spends the majority of it wondering whether or not he can trust the outsider Meronym.

Mitchell basically explores two facets of human nature that he believes will never change - the ability of people to be unkind to each other, and the massive importance we as civilized people place on trusting (and distrusting) each other.

It doesn't make for the most feel-good of all books, but he does conclude it with the Adam Ewing story, which has Ewing and Autua forging a bond and helping each other out.

Overall, I liked it, despite the bleak nature of the themes I recognized. What were your thoughts on it?


Brian | 33 comments Mod
I hadn't thought much about trust but it could go hand in hand. For me the biggest thing was the interplay between fiction and reality and the fuzzy line between which is which. Each story is of course presented as if true but then the next story views the previous as fiction. Frobisher notes that he believes the Ewing Travelog he is reading to be a work of fiction. You could argue the letters between Frobisher and Sixthpence are real except they only appear in the Luisa Rey mystery that is not only written in a style that indicates it is false we know it to be a work of fiction by the time it comes around to Cavendish.

Cavendish's seems real until you realize it's an old movie that Sonmi-451 watches and there is no indication it is a true story. Then we get of course to Zachry and he certainly believes many things about Somni but few of them have anything to do with what we read about her and we can't be sure of more than that. I would say that as we get deeper into the nesting doll the fictions of the previous story become less relatable to the next one and less understood until they are warped, so even if they are reality it doesn't matter because what happened is not what is understood and remembered.

I guess overall that can go with trust but more that you cannot be sure that what you know is what is real. Overall I liked it as well but I am not sure how much of it will stick with me, if that makes sense. It was enjoyable but I can't claim it has made me think much.


A.J. | 17 comments That's a good point about the possible fictitious nature of some of the stories. Although, there is the linking theme of the comet-shaped birthmarks that seems to indicate that each character is a real, reincarnated version of the previous one.

Also, as far as the Frobisher letters being real, I do seem to remember that Luisa Rey was able to order a copy of the Cloud Atlas Sextet that he had composed as his masterwork - indicating that the man Frobisher did exist and had left behind a tangible composition.

I did enjoy the comparison of the musical themes of the Sextet and how they pertained to the characters in the book. You could make an analogy between the different instruments of an orchestra and the different people that comprise humanity (and how musical themes and personalities can be similar to each other.) However, that was a pretty small aspect of the overall story and it was probably only of note to me because of my musical background.

I agree that it was a likable book but that not much of it will stick with me either.


Joshua | 26 comments finished it at ladt. Liked it, although pacing was spotty at times. will comment more when not on a tablet.


Joshua | 26 comments Okay, so a bit more expounded. I honestly looked at it as a "man's inhumanity against man" theme (much like AJ). You have the stronger natives against the weaker natives, the Europeans against the natives and the Goose against Ewing in the 1st story. Ayrs holding power over Frobisher. Seaboard holding power over the country/Luisa Rey, the nursing home holding power against Cavendish and the other residents, the corpocracy against the fabricants and, coming full circle, the stronger natives against the weaker natives.

I never thought any of the stories were fictitious, I think they all had descended to the category of legend by the time the next story was written. The Ewing journal seemed fantastic for everything that happened to him. Frobisher's stories - Well, there was a lot going on there, and it seemed more grounded in reality, and, as AJ also pointed out Luisa buys the Cloud Atlas Sextet, so it seemed real. For Luisa Rey, I assumed that either a) the book was based on historical events (although, why "Buenas Yerbas instead of San Francisco?) or b) she became a famous investigative reporter and there were other mysteries in which she was involved. Cavendish also seems like a movie was made based on his adventures...the guy was a publisher, after all. And Somni was seen in the orison, so seemed to have been real.

I want to see the movie now, to see how they handled this, although in the edition I read, his notes say that they stories are blended differently because they didn't think audiences would react well to a constant restart. Will I remember the book? Sure, OCD does that. :) Will I want to rush back and read it again? Probably not.


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