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Cloud Atlas
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2012 Reads > CA: Frobisher cracks me up

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Ezra Farber | 26 comments I loved the way he fumed about the world like a baby when he was down on his luck. The way he turned up his nose at society and beautiful things like the cliffs of Dover really reminded me of Ignatius from A Confederacy of Dunces (one of my all-time favorites). Anyone else feel that way?

Also, I noticed that, right after snubbing Dover for being too popular a site and too cloying an image, he referred to England as Albion (maybe a period phrase, but it does refer to the whiteness of those cliffs).

His hypocrisy and the speed with which his attitude changes when he finds a new host to leech really made that segment fun!

What did you guys think about him?

Jonathon Dez-la-lour (jd2607) | 173 comments So far, I've only read the first 2 parts but Frobisher is my favourite fo what I've read so far and probably will remain so.

A lot of his frustrations and the way he hears music in the world are very similar to what I experience, being - like Frobisher - a 20-something composer. There's instantly that connection there for me and I'm impressed that Mitchell's managed to put together a decent portrayal of the mindset of a composer.

I also love that he's quite openly bisexual (admittedly, his liasons with men aren't explicitly confirmed but there's heavy implication).

I just find that I've really connected to this character because in a lot of ways he's a lot like me and I can really easily identify with him.

Ezra Farber | 26 comments on the sexuality, i don't know if we get more about it later in the story (don't tell me), but it is super-vague. and the gentleman in question (Frobisher's first bit) is certainly an interesting "choice." was it only for money? I don't know, but that might be similar to what I've heard about homosexuality in the early 20th... hidden, ambiguous, snatches here and there. Very interesting.

message 4: by Spriggan1 (last edited Oct 09, 2012 03:29AM) (new)

Spriggan1 | 25 comments I thoroughly enjoyed the snarky filter through which he regarded the world. And yes, he was somewhat of a hypocrite, but I sort of gave him points for the fact that he was at least aware of his flaws, and I thought a lot of his contemptuous commentary for high society and it's unjust practices was apt, which is kind of important to the consistency of a subversive soul.

But yeah that story is one of my favorites of the lot. I liked it for the setting, for Frobisher the character and for the clever writing style.

My absolute favorite line of many great ones -- "Anything in a skirt, that's what I heard about Claude, and he was a Frenchman." Just after learning "Claire De Lune" for piano and simultaneously developing a hallowed reverence for Debussy, that line slayed me.

Ezra Farber | 26 comments hee.... love this book already

George Corley (gacorley) | 63 comments Frobisher is quite hilarious. I don't think I would like to be friends with him in person, but it's quite entertaining to read his letters. He is quite engaging and amusing even as he trashes anything and everything around him (except just a few things).

As for the sexuality, it rings true to me, as well. We're talking about a time when homosexual acts were often illegal even in modern states, and queers (though I don't think that term wasn't around yet) were so far in the closet that they used a kind of thieve's cant to find others who might be like them. It makes sense that he's more coy about his relations with men than with women, though he is still quite open with his brother.

Gabe (Top_Hat) | 16 comments Frobisher is seems straight out of an Oscar Wilde story, which I love. His story was fun even when he was being an awful person with no remorse.

Olivia (oliviayoungers) | 115 comments I find him to be the least likeable (because he just so blatantly seems to use people) and so while I enjoy reading his story, he's just despicable to me. I think Cavendish has been the most fun to read...he's a cowardly old coot and is probably the most similar to Frobisher but is a bit more endearing somehow?

message 9: by aldenoneil (last edited Oct 19, 2012 01:59PM) (new) - added it

aldenoneil | 1000 comments George wrote: "queers (though I don't think that term wasn't around yet)"

It generally isn't around today, either.

message 10: by Ian (new) - added it

Ian Roberts | 143 comments Gabe you are spot on that's exactly what the style reminded me of. Not sure who they actually to to play him in the film but in my mind I see him as a young Rupert Everett.

On the sexuality he came across as pretty clearly bisexual to me don't think it was very vague

Loved this story he was spectacularly self centred but great fun

Jonathon Dez-la-lour (jd2607) | 173 comments @Ezra

I got the impression that his encounter in the first part was more to alleviate his boredom than to sell himself and that he merely took the opportunity to empty out the guy's wallet. There are guys that do that even now, will have sex with someone and steal something from them too and they'll rely on societal prejudices to pretty much guarantee that the person they've stolen from won't say anything or that if they do, the police won't do anyhing.


The term "queer" did exist but was used to describe things that were strange, odd or out of the ordinary. It shared pretty much the same meaning as "weird". It's not until much later that it was associated with homosexuality, being camp, flamboyant or effeminate. Please bear in mind that a lot of people find that term to be very offensive, myself included.


He's being play by Ben Whishaw in the movie adaptation and he lokos almost exactly how I pictured Frobisher to look.

message 12: by Ruth (tilltab) (last edited Oct 21, 2012 11:26AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ruth (tilltab) (till-tab) | 1383 comments Lol, Jonathon, I love the way you talk about the meaning of queer as if it is some ancient, strange, and, well, rather queer word; people still commonly use it to mean strange, you know!

I don't think George meant any harm using the word; it's one of those words that enough homosexuals use about themselves that it can seem acceptable, though I get that some find it offensive.

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