Cloud Atlas

by David Mitchell

Knopf Canada | July 16, 2010 | Kobo Edition (eBook)

Cloud Atlas is rated 4.1429 out of 5 by 14.
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; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan’s California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; 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 lead us.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Format: Kobo Edition (eBook)

Published: July 16, 2010

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0307373576

ISBN - 13: 9780307373571

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Challenging, yet mind opening Novel.  A great novel, a hard read but with a pay off. It takes time and commitment but it`s been a great learning experience. The author`s style is impeccable, albeit hard to comprehend at times. The stories seem independent and at the climax have a grand confluence of themes. These then disparate stories conflate and become a single entity, very much a great novel.
Date published: 2014-02-04
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Inception in book form The idea of reading David Mitchell’s “Cloud Atlas” first came to me after seeing the movie trailer back in October. Now as a personal rule, I tend to always read a book before seeing its movie adaptation. Resuming the story plot is no easy task. Ask anyone who has read it. Basically, it is a collection of six stories that are set in different places; different times, different genres and that each feature a different main character. The first 5 stories are divided in halves with the 6th story being the only undivided one. As you read on, you move forward in time until you reach the bending point (aka the 6th story) and start moving backward in time, in order to read the second half of every story, finishing each in turn. Although I truly admire and applaud the author for his effort and creativity, I must admit that I have mixed feelings about his novel. I can’t say that I truly dislike it, as some of the character and stories did hit a certain cord for me. For example, I particularly enjoyed the stories entitled “Half-lives: the first Luisa Rey mystery” and “The ghastly ordeal of Timothy Cavendish” They were written in styles I usually am attracted and seemed to me to be best build up. I also liked their colorful and resourceful characters and the fast-pace of their story plot. As for the other stories, something just didn’t hit the mark for me; either it being the genre, the style, the story plot and even sometimes the main character. Moreover, the link between the stories was loose and made me wish at times that there was none. Even now, I find it difficult to understand its importance and significance: • Is it the fact that the whole book seems to be a critic of some sort on slavery and the disparity between social classes? • Or does the book somehow critic humanity’s perpetual desire to achieve absolute power through different means and how it affects the rest of society? Even the relationship between the title of the book and its contents makes very little sense to me. I do believe that I might have liked to book more should the stories have been completely separated from one another. I think they would have worked better taken individually instead of as a whole, which is just confusing. As to whether or not, this will be my first and last incursion into the works of David Mitchell is still open for discussion. For more on this book and others yet to come, visit my blog at : ladybugandotherbookworms.blogspot.com
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Dense but a good read. I did enjoy Cloud Atlas, and I now understand why it's so hard to give a short summary of the plot. There are 6 great short stories set in different times of history that are loosely connected and are all nested within each other. You read the first half of a story, then the first half of the next and so on before you finish each in turn. The connections are too loose for me to be wowed by them and there are many themes that are a bit too densely packed for easy reflection. I think the overarching theme is power and how the desire for it ruins society. The stories work well on their own and it may have been better if they were stand alone. Anyone who has difficulty with stories switching back and forth in time will not find this an easy read. I found it difficult to get into at first, the language of the first story didn't flow well for me. It wasn't until the finales of each story that it all started to come together, so this is a commitment book. The author is clearly an excellent writer, each story was written in a very different style and it would have been easy to believe each was written by a different author. Probably deserves a second read through.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Completely Surprised! I honestly went into reading this novel with a little bit of trepidation of it not being very good. The real reason for this is, I hate to say it but the trailer for the movie didn't catch me. I know that a silly reason not to read a novel, but I had no intentions of really reading Cloud Atlas. Then my uncle and best friend said they were going to start to read it, so I thought what the heck. I had no idea what the novel would be about even by seeing the trailer. I digress, Cloud Atlas was an excellent novel and I really enjoyed it. It connects six completely different stories into one collective existence through the ages by telling five half stories then the finally full story and then finishing the five stories in reverse order to finish with the first story. I will say that at every different story it took me a few pages to get into it, but by the end of the six story I was so enthralled that I couldn't wait to finish off the rest of the stories. Just go and grab Cloud Atlas and give it a try, you'll enjoy it.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliantly Written The first time I heard about this novel was by seeing the trailer for the upcoming film adaptation out in October. I of course was instantly transfixed and had to read the book before seeing the film. Cloud Atlas consists of 6 short stories that are loosely connected through characters, motifs and themes. In the link attached I give a basic breakdown of the format and stories without going into spoiler territory: http://blip.tv/lokireviews/cloud-atlas-an-introduction-6354559 But all in all this book has something for everyone, spanning across different genres and time periods. If I had to choose though, my favourite out of all 6 is The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish. Cavendish's character is the most colourful and his story has the best build up out of all of them. All I can really say is give this book a read, it does not disappoint.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Didn't finish - very dense read I only got through the first part of this book. I was so looking forward to reading it because of the great reviews it got on both Goodreads and on Amazon, but I had such a hard time getting into it. I just don’t understand why it was made out to be such a wonderful book–perhaps I was missing something–but, in my eyes, any book where, within the first 39 pages, makes me fall asleep numerous times isn’t such a great read.
Date published: 2013-12-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Atlas of Boundless Possibilities I had always wanted to read a novel by David Mitchell. "Cloud Atlas" became the first of his, and it will definitely not be the last I will read from him. The book jacket of "Cloud Atlas" does not give an in-depth synopsis of what the novel entails. How could it? There really is no way to describe the book in that small a space (a good attempt was made to provide the reader a general feel of what their reading experience could be like) unless you take the time to leaf through it and savour the stories that Mitchell has so intricately written in such a distinct style. With six stories, we are taken through time, from the mid-19th century to the distant future, and space, to lands of New Zealand, Belgium and Korea. These stories give us various genres of fiction - 'The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing' and 'Letters from Zedelghem' read as first-hand accounts in a historical context, 'Half Live: The First Luisa Rey Mystery' is as the name suggests, then we have our comedic contemporary 'The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish,' and the science fiction piece of 'An Orison of Sonmi~451' and the fantasy/sci-fi-inspired 'Sloosha's Crossin' an' Ev'rythin' After.' They are nested within the previous one, each having a connection to the story before. Think of it like the Inception of books. However, in there lies the tiny problem I had while reading the novel - figuring out of what importance the links between the stories have. That string threading all the stories together could have easily been snapped and the whole book would just have become a collection of short stories, yet still each could have well stood on its own. After delving further into them and giving it much thought, I got the idea Mitchell was trying to convey - the doings of individuals unto themselves, and of society upon themselves, regardless of when and where - and appreciated the subtlety of their associations. My favourite of the six is hands down, without a doubt, 'An Orison of Sonmi~451.' I'm not a sci-fi reader but the story had me fascinated. I could even read a book just about it. That is a brilliant part on Mitchell, who manages to creatively come up with such imaginative storylines and write the various genres in a relatable fashion fitting of the period and locale they are set it. With a movie adaptation in the works with some remarkable names rumoured (some even attached to roles that I find surprisingly appropriate), it will be interesting to see how "Cloud Atlas" translates onto the big screen. Regardless of what you have heard or thought you have heard about the book, read it for yourself to make a decision and you just might be in for a nice surprise!
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fabulous Read Pros: brilliant writing, a set of interconnected stories with thought provoking messages Con: each story is interrupted to tell the first half of the next, when you get back to it you've forgotten minor details that are important in understanding the novel as a whole Cloud Atlas is a novel told through six interconnected stories. For example, the musician of the second story is reading the journal written by the man in the first. And the reporter of the third story reads the letters written by the musician and listens to his music. Each protagonist also bears a comet birthmark between their collarbones and shoulder blades, giving the idea that they might be the same person, living over and over again. The novel begins with The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing. He's a notary on his way back to America from delivering papers to a client's heir in Australia. His ship has stopped at an island to resupply, and there Adam makes the acquaintance of Doctor Henry Goose. In the second story a disinherited English musician ingratiates himself into a ailing Belgium's home, intent on helping this man finish his musical works, and bettering his own position. Half-Lives: The First Luisa Ray Mystery shows her meeting a scientist working on a new atomic energy plant, and discovers that this so called safe energy might not be so safe after all. I won't detail the other stories as it's fun discovering what comes next. My favourite of the novel however, was An Orison of Sonmi-451. It's basically a science fiction story showing how commercialism has overtaken the world and had resonances of Soylent Green, 1984 and Battle Royale. In fact, this is a novel that on the whole, reads easier if you're well versed in literature. I recognized a few other references, but I'm sure I missed a lot of others. And as the stories start completing themselves, messages of when you save the lives of others you're really saving your own and how our actions, big or small, shape the world around us - even if we don't live to see the effects, come to the fore. Ultimately, it's a fabulous novel. If you like thinking about the books you read, I'd highly recommend picking this one up.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Exceptionally Unique “Cloud Atlas” was one of those exceptional books that leaves you thinking long after you turn the last page. “The book consists of six nested stories that take us from the remote South Pacific in the nineteenth century to a distant, post-apocalyptic future. Each tale is revealed to be a story that is read (or watched) by the main character in the next.” The first story in the book had me floundering for a bit..the writing style was a bit different from the books that I normally read…with the plot taking place in 1850...the diary of Adam Ewing as he voyages home from the islands around New Zealand. But I stuck with it and soon found myself absorbed with the each of the stories, which overlap and weave through and around each other. The language kept changing in each story since each separate plot took place in a different dimension of time...and ranged from very old-fashioned to almost idiomatic in style. This was really a brilliant read...an amazing concept that David Mitchell pulled off with great success.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Expansive yet quietly familiar Mitchell's "Cloud Atlas" draws one in from the first few pages of Adam Ewing's Pacific Journal and doesn't relinquish its grip until that same journal closes some 500 pages later. In between, however, Mitchell has thoughtfully and carefully constructed several other equally-marvellous and enchanting worlds. "Cloud Atlas" is beautifully-written and its expansive yet quietly familiar examination of human experience raise it to the level of brilliance.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Should have won the Booker This Russian-doll novel, text within text within text, is a wonderful mix of genres. At first the fragmented narrative is disorienting--just as you get into the rhythm of a story, it ends abruptly and you find yourself in a different genre and another century. But Mitchell keeps enough common threads and themes to lead you further in, until the direction reverses and you begin to understand what the stories share, and why Mitchell has chosen to tell them in such a fashion. Some literary writers play with genre fiction in a jarring way that suggests they don't actually read in the genres they are mimicking--not Mitchell. He has a great sense of style and character, a particular pleasure for an omnivorous reader. Yet this book is not all playful--in addition to the virtuoso genre stuff Mitchell gives us a series of visions of the future, from different vantages. Like cloud patterns, each is unique, but we see repeating forms; and like cloud patterns, the human eye is what makes the meaning.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the best novels in many years Cloud Atlas is an incredible book. Imaginative and profound, it is an important work that captures the eternal in the spirit of the age. I have already given several copies to friends as gifts.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Read in a Long Time When I picked up a paperback copy off the table inside a bookstore, I never heard of David Mitchell or Cloud Atlas even though I later learned that it had been short-listed for the Booker and heavily praised in Britain when it was first released in hardcover. Sure the pretty cover attracted my attention, but I found to my surprise that the summary appealed to me as being refresingly different as well. Probably like many other book lovers these days, I usually have a few different books on the go at the same time. Part of the reason being that there are so many books to read and so little time but I also find that sometimes the different books will work off each other in interesting ways. Cloud Atlas, with its six individual yet intertwining stories does this on its own. Structurally it sounds very post-modern, but unlike many works of fiction that aim for structural innovation, this book is not only interesting to think about and grapple with, but it is also a pleasure to read. Mitchell is a good writer that knows how to engage and lead the reader in a dynamic way through out the work. The scope of this book is not only large in terms of structure, narrative and style, but also in its themes of predation and the self-destructive tendencies of societies and civilizations. However, instead of attempting to flash a red light about the end of civilization (Jane Jacob's Dark Age Ahead and Jared Diamond's Collapse come to mind), it is rather a meditation on the patterns of human history, the worth of defending the good against the corrupt and what it might mean about what we can or cannot do about the future. I’m still not sure I’ve figured out the significance of the title yet but I am looking forward to a second reading, which is not something I do with many novels. Simply put, Cloud Atlas is one good book I’ve read in a long time. On a last note, I think Diamond’s earlier book “Guns, Germs and Steel”, most simply described as a history of human migration, may make a good non-fiction companion to the Cloud Atlas.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good, but hard to figure what this is all about Well, this is the one I thought the other one (The Cloud Atlas) was. I can see that this is a good book, but I'm not sure I really get it. Each chapter has a tenuous connection to the next. We begin in the Chatham Isles and make our way from the middle of the 19th century to a post apocalyptical world in Hawaii (where, by the way, the tale eventually ends). There is a theme I guess, but I'm not sure what it is. Part sermon, part sci-fi, part crime story, what it really is is a series of short stories. I may try another of his books. This was a strong candidate for the Man Booker. It is better that The Line of Beauty.
Date published: 2013-10-29

– More About This Product –

Cloud Atlas

by David Mitchell

Format: Kobo Edition (eBook)

Published: July 16, 2010

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0307373576

ISBN - 13: 9780307373571

From the Publisher

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; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan’s California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; 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 lead us.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

About the Author

David Mitchell was born in 1969 and his first novel, GHOSTWRITTEN, was published by Sceptre in 1999 and won the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize. His second novel, NUMBER9DREAM (2001) was shortlisted for the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. He was chosen as one of Granta's 20 Best Young British Novelists 2003. His latest novel is entitled, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. He has also written Black Swan Green and Cloud Atlas, which was made into a major motion picture film in 2012.
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