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Cloud Atlas
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Previous BotM--DISCUSSIONS > Cloud Atlas (8/20): Finished Reading (Spoilers OK)

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message 1: by Kathi, Moderator & Book Lover (new)

Kathi | 3277 comments Mod
Have you finished reading Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell? What did you think?

Spoilers OK.


message 2: by Random (new)

Random (rand0m1s) | 847 comments As I mentioned in the Roll Call thread, I have given up on this book. in fact, a direct quote from my other post is "I can honestly say that I would rather rip my throat out with my bare fingers and bash my brains out against a brick wall before I spend one more second in its company."

Kathi had asked me for details on what I reacted to so badly and I feel that this is the better thread for that discussion.

I think my major dislike has been the utter pointlessness of everything. From what I have read, it just feels like random journal entries from random people about amazingly uninteresting things.

Now I would have had to have had my head buried in the sand for me to not have an idea on where this is going due to the existence of the movie. However, having an idea on where this is eventually going does not help.

This is actually excellent contrast with our other book for this month The City We Became. That book has a hook. Immediately giving me something to be interested in, a curiosity on what might happen, characters I would like to know more about, and similar.

In contrast this is random snippets of uninteresting people I care nothing about doing uninteresting things. In fact, in the first section I found myself yelling out loud "Oh god PLEASE let the natives eat him and put me out of my misery!!!"

I eventually came to the conclusion that life is way too bloody short to put myself through that when there are a ton of books I would rather read and would actually enjoy.

I highly recommend The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August as an alternative that is actually interesting.


message 3: by Kathi, Moderator & Book Lover (new)

Kathi | 3277 comments Mod
Random wrote: "As I mentioned in the Roll Call thread, I have given up on this book. in fact, a direct quote from my other post is "I can honestly say that I would rather rip my throat out with my bare fingers an..."

Thanks for this. I have not seen the movie, so I really don’t know anything about the storyline, if there is one. It doesn’t sound too enticing.

Maybe someone who has a different take on it will post.


Jemppu | 15 comments I've loved the movie since it came out. And loved the book for it, reading it earlier this year.

If nothing else, I encourage folks to watch the inspirational extended trailer: https://youtu.be/fWDmOQPwL9s


message 5: by Random (new)

Random (rand0m1s) | 847 comments We're not talking about the movie, we are talking about the book. I am well aware of the gimmick. If I have to watch an extended movie trailer in order for the book to have any interest, then that is a massive failure of the book.


message 6: by Kathi, Moderator & Book Lover (new)

Kathi | 3277 comments Mod
Random wrote: "We're not talking about the movie, we are talking about the book. I am well aware of the gimmick. If I have to watch an extended movie trailer in order for the book to have any interest, then that ..."

Well, I did raise the issue of the movie. No worries.


message 7: by Kateblue (last edited Aug 09, 2020 11:52AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kateblue | 13 comments Random wrote: "As I mentioned in the Roll Call thread, I have given up on this book. in fact, a direct quote from my other post is "I can honestly say that I would rather rip my throat out with my bare fingers an..."

Your comment made me laugh out loud. I do not remember much about Cloud Atlas from when I skipped through it two years ago except thinking, "just tell me the damn story and stop skipping around!!!"

His book The Bone Clocks, was much better, I thought. Though I don't see where I ever rated it, which makes me wonder if I ever finished it.

I also recommend The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August. Maybe Random and I will agree on things.

Random, are you named after Prince Random in Nine Princes in Amber et seq.?


message 8: by Random (new)

Random (rand0m1s) | 847 comments Kateblue wrote: "Your comment made me laugh out loud. I do not remember much about Cloud Atlas from when I skipped through it two years ago except thinking, "just tell me the damn story and stop skipping around!!!"."

I don't even mind the skipping. I just wish there was more, I don't know, focus maybe? or point? instead what we have are barely tied together snippets of uninteresting stuff.

Re: the name, while I have happy memories of the Amber series, in my case Random comes from Mostly Harmless. I just related too much with the character back in the early 90s and it stuck.


message 9: by Kateblue (last edited Aug 12, 2020 09:32PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kateblue | 13 comments Random wrote: "in my case Random comes from Mostly Harmless."

I have loved Hitchikers Guide forever, but I'm pretty sure I only read Mostly Harmless once. So I don't remember it as well--nor do I remember Random. But the whole trilogy (quintology??) is on my reread list. So I will be looking out for him.

Speaking of Hitchhikers Guide--I just saw the movie The Dark Knight for the first time, right before they took it off Hulu Aug 1. Did anyone notice that when the joker missed killing prosecutor Harvey Dent, he killed two guys, Somebody Harvey and Arthur Dent. I feel sure that someone Hitchhiker-savvy must have snuck Arthur Dent in there! It cracked me up.


message 10: by Random (new)

Random (rand0m1s) | 847 comments Kateblue wrote: "I have loved Hitchikers Guide forever, but I'm pretty sure I only read Mostly Harmless once. So I don't remember it as well."

I've always said, I discovered HHGTTG at just the point in my life where I really needed some good laughs and I've had a warm and fuzzy feeling about the series (radio/tv/books) ever since. Less so for the movie, but mostly because so many of the punch lines ended up on the cutting room floor.

Random was (view spoiler).


Kateblue | 13 comments Random wrote: "Kateblue wrote: "I have loved Hitchikers Guide forever, but I'm pretty sure I only read Mostly Harmless once. So I don't remember it as well."

I've always said, I discovered HHGTTG at just the poi..."


Thanks for the info about random. I just sent you a friend request. Now I suppose we should quit cluttering up this thread . . .


message 12: by *Tau* (new) - added it

*Tau* | 6 comments Random wrote: "In fact, in the first section I found myself yelling out loud "Oh god PLEASE let the natives eat him and put me out of my misery!!!""

Lol, now thát would have been a good story ;-p

At the moment I'm stuck on page 52 (= at about 10% of the book).

The fact that it's taking me long to finish a book can mean 2 things:
1. the book is really good and I want to savour it (the longer the better)
2. the book is kind of boring and can't keep my interest

Sadly it's the latter explanation that applies to Cloud Atlas.
Although I really looked forward to (finally) read it, there are lots of other books that are getting my attention right now.


message 13: by Chris, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Chris (heroncfr) | 563 comments Mod
I think this book is a beautifully constructed. Like a Russian doll, each layer opens to reveal something new, while still including echoes of the surrounding layers. But this storytelling style took some getting used to. I remember, the first time I read this, that when the first story broke off mid-sentence, I thought I had a defective copy. I did find the second half of each story easier to read than the first. I find it an excellent example of literary fiction, and I enjoyed this re-read.

But I don't really think of this as a science fiction read. Only two of the six stories could be considered SF. I was surprised when it was proposed as a group read, but it does indeed meet our group's criteria. And there was a panel at this year's Worldcon discussing David Mitchell's works, including Cloud Atlas, so perhaps I am alone in this assessment.

I also re-watched the movie, and read Mitchell's thoughts on the translation from book to movie. In detail and storytelling there are significant differences, yet the major themes manage to remain intact.

So, overall I'd say it's a great read for the right reader, but perhaps not the most typical choice for our group.


Renee (elenarenee) | 82 comments I loved this book. I read it when it first came out. I remember being confused at first. But when i came to the end I loved the journey. I may give it aa reread


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