Cloud Atlas

A Novel

509 pages

English language

Published Nov. 10, 2004 by Random House Trade Paperbacks.

ISBN:
978-0-375-50725-0
Copied ISBN!
OCLC Number:
53919721

View on OpenLibrary

4 stars (156 reviews)

From David Mitchell, the Booker Prize nominee, award-winning writer and one of the featured authors in Granta’s “Best of Young British Novelists 2003” issue, comes his highly anticipated third novel, a work of mind-bending imagination and scope.

A reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; an ambitious journalist in Governor Reagan’s California; a vanity publisher fleeing the mendicant and violent family of his star author; a genetically modified “dinery server” on death-row; and Zachry, a young Pacific Islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilisation -- the narrators of Cloud Atlas hear each other’s echoes down the corridor of history, and their destinies are changed in ways great and small.

In his captivating third novel, David Mitchell erases the boundaries of language, genre and time to offer a meditation on humanity’ s dangerous will to power, and where it may …

9 editions

Great book if you are proficient in English

4 stars

It is a great book, but when I was reading it I was not so proficient in English and some chapters are really hard to read - especially because David Mitchell tried to write like how the people in the different time ages spoke

Review of 'Cloud Atlas' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

I liked following the different stories and bouncing back and forth between them. I'm not totally sure what the thread that wove them all together was, but the individual stories kept me reading and the book as a whole was fun to read. Having seen the movie before reading the books, I had already formulated pictures of what all the characters looked like, which was probably helpful since there were many to keep track of.

Review of 'Cloud Atlas' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Cloud Atlas is a fantastic read. A friend of mine hosted a viewing party for the movie, and wouldn’t say anything about for fear of spoiling it! Later I borrowed their copy and enjoyed every minute reading it. The following may be an unpopular opinion, but I slightly prefer the movie ending.

Review of 'Cloud Atlas' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

I was initially intrigued by the stylistic conceit of this novel, but ultimately, I found it unsatisfying. I was engrossed in all the stories on the way "up" the narrative pyramid, but found my engagement waning on our way back "down." The connections were sort of clever, but in the end, didn't really affect the larger story at all.

I did enjoy each short story on its own merits very much. In the end, this was ambitious and clever, but it just didn't totally work.

Review of 'Cloud Atlas' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

I can't offer any resounding literary critique of Cloud Atlas--it is too smart for me. I can say that I immensely enjoyed seeing how the six disparate stories were interwoven. I felt a little guilty that my favorite story was the Luisa Rey Mystery, as it turns out not exactly meant to be high brow literature. Now to look up some literary analysis to uncover the meaning behind the book.

Review of 'Cloud Atlas' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

The travel journal, the lover's letters, the thriller, the comedy, the sci-fi, and the after-collapse; six novellas in as many different genres and voices. A historic and dystopic vision of human nature, reminding us how it doesn't matter the century or the level of civilisation - humanity has always been about the strong crushing the weak. And yet, with some extraordinary human treats, how it is possible for the weak to succeed, even if posthumously, and with the help of sometimes a whole community.

There are a few gems for learning for those involved in struggles against the powerful nowadays.

Unlike other books ... this book is excellent and every one should read it.

Review of 'Cloud Atlas' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

Again, this seems to be a book which grabbed many critics because science fiction is great but most critics don't read it. So when sci-fi somehow wanders on to the approved reading list of people who think they are generally ABOVE sci-fi, they say "Hey, this is really creative!"

I can't tell you how many people warned me about how challenging this book is to read. Yeah, not so much. Try keeping track of the all reincarnations in the Years of Rice and Salt.

I'm having many of the same reactions to this book as I did to the movie Interstellar. As modern literature goes, it's good. But as sci-fi goes, it's meh.

I really dislike text in future "patois." Look, I don't read Chaucerian English either, so I understand that language drifts over time. But why would anything uttered a 500 years from now be more intelligible to me …

Review of 'Cloud Atlas' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

Having already seen the movie adaption before reading the novel did probably spoil most of the fun for me, as I already knew about the major ways, in which the six stories are interconnected. I also liked the way in which the movie hops in a round-robin manner between the six stories, which places a stronger emphasis on the eclectic aesthetics of the work than the actual book does. Probably this would not have worked out that well in written form, so in general there is nothing to say against the inlay-style (or pyramidic structure, or Matryoshka doll style) which M. chose to intertwine the six texts in the novel.

The book employs loads of self and cross references, which appears to me as the old postmodern trick, that keeps the reader's attention by making you feel smrt and well-read. Some of these references are sufficiently subtle, others come as …

Review of 'Cloud Atlas' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

David Mitchell is a chameleon -- at least in this book. Six stories, six styles.

"Sloosha's Crossin' etc." was a bit hard to get through, mainly due to the dialect. If the whole of the book contained that many apostrophes, there's no way I'd have finished it.

I think my favourite section was "An Orison of Sonmi~451"; my least favourite "The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing" (though I really came to dislike Robert Frobisher, the louche letter-writer in "Letters from Zedelghem").

Overall, I'd recommend this to a friend.

Review of 'Cloud Atlas' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

What the hell? I don't get why this book is so highly rated. It's an enjoyable enough read but it definitely did not blow me away. Yeah, yeah, the stories are connected, inhabited by the same soul throughout time, based on, ahem, a comet shaped birthmark. Okay, cool, I can dig it. But the stories really weren't connected all that well, mostly just stand alone short stories, written in differing genres, for example, historical, sci-fi, post apocalyptic fictions, etc... with a clue thrown into the current story to let you know how the story connected to the one before. But the clue was just kind of shoe horned in there, as an aside, and really had nothing to do with the plot of the current story. I guess the idea was pretty original, but the execution was weak, IMHO of course. The stories just didn't seem connected to each other …

Review of 'Cloud Atlas' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

I really enjoyed reading this book and it initially felt like a tour de force along the lines of a modern day Ulysses. However, the narratives kind of lost steam for me towards the end of the novel for some reason. Perhaps I felt like the author was trying too hard to string things all together.

Review of 'Cloud Atlas' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

"Cloud Atlas" by David Mitchell is an overwhelming book. It plays upon all your senses, using its interrelated stories to tell a large story of human society and existence that is creative, witty, and engaging on multiple levels.

One of the most challenging aspects of writing a review for this book is to say what it is about. The novel presents six interrelated stories in six different styles (a journal, a series of letters, a pulpy mystery novel, a stream-of-consciousness memoir, testimony of a condemned prisoner, and an oral story). The stories have common elements that are sometimes obvious but sometimes hidden and only become clear as the stories unfold. Each story is a virtuoso performance and read like different creative works all together.

The central theme of the stories (if there is one) is that "human hunger creates civilization, but it also destroys it." It is fascinating to see …

Review of 'Cloud Atlas' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

Reading this after seeing the movie is .. weird. Some segments were used nearly unaltered in the film, and some were extensively adapted to fit the demands of the screen. I tended to enjoy the latter more in this book. Particularly the parts in Neo Seoul and Hawaii. After the brilliant cutting and interplay between story lines in the movie, the simple nesting in the book is a let down. Enjoyed the movie more, and I don't say that often.

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Subjects

  • Fate and fatalism -- Fiction
  • Reincarnation -- Fiction