I just finished listening and all I can say is this is so worth the time. It starts a bit slow but just gets better and better with every character and story added. Tremendous!
I took a while to be hooked by this story; the first change of scene totally took me by surprise. I loved the book and plan to listen again before long.
My main reason to write a review however is to praise John Lee as narrator. Everything I have that he has narrated I have loved, i. e. Count of Monte Cristo, Robinson Crusoe--but his character in this was superb! I don't think I have ever laughed so hard listening to an audio book. Which is also high praise for David Mitchell--the disparity between his characters is amazing and he makes them all interesting. And to write something so funny--in a not funny novel for the most part--that is TALENT!
Purchased Cloud Atlas on a whim, having never heard of David Mitchell and having no idea of the upcoming movie, and supremely glad that I did. The novel, or more accurately, the 6 interrelated short stories had me captivated immediately.
The structure of the book is such that each story appears in chronologic order interrupting, usually abruptly, the story preceding it until climaxing with the sixth story in full. Each story is then revisited and resolved in the reverse sequence to which it had originally appeared. This twist on story telling, which by the author's own admission is either "revolutionary or gimmicky", is a pleasant change from your typical story formats.
Each story is singular in place, time period and voice. From an 1850's merchant vessel in the South Pacific to a post-apocalyptic Hawaiian tribe in the distant future. This allows the book to encompass a variety of genres: historical fiction, pulp fiction, mystery, and science fiction. So, whatever your brand of whiskey is, you're more than apt to be satisfied here.
The author impressively adapts his writing style and dialect to the time periods and genre of each individual story. At first this may present the reader (or listener) with some challenges, but I believe you'll find you adapt quickly. It also allows each narrator to shine - and shine they do! The narration of this book is among the best you'll ever hear with each author bringing their unique skill and style to the table. The end result is not unlike a quilt where each unique patch is weaved together into a cohesive whole.
While the narrative itself is not too complex, there is certainly more going on in this story than meets the eye. Cloud Atlas is not short on layers and meanings. One of the first things I did after finishing this book was look up reviews and analysis from other readers to see if they picked up on subtler plot lines that I may have missed. I really appreciate a book that makes me do this.
In closing, I highly recommend this book. Note that, like most books, there is mature subject matter and some disturbing content. That said, I really enjoyed this book. Go read (or listen) to it before the movie comes out!
Didn't quite know what to expect from this book. Got it on the recommendation of a friend and just started listening with very little knowledge of what the book was about. It is an intricate telling of individual stories all connected to one another in some way. Was a little slow to start. Caught fire in the middle. And then it slowly ended. It is a hard listen if you do not pay close attention. You will not see the connections in the stories. I have to say overall I really enjoyed this book. I would compare his style to something like Kurt Vonnegut in the sense that a good many characters in the stories appear again or are an integral part in other stories in the book.
It was very disjointed and just a very hard listen
Looking for a good mystery maybe some Wallander
I couldn't make it through to let you know
I hear they are making it into a movie maybe that would be easier to follow?
I wanted so badly to love this book. When I didn't understand the audiobook -- too much listening while falling asleep and missing key points -- I bought the hardcover. I was determined to see why this story got such rave reviews. After spending months trying to wrestle this beast to the ground, I still didn't get it. I had a feeling that Mitchell wrote this book to prove how smart he is, rather than to entertain. I expect an author to enlist me as an ally. Instead, I felt intimidated and alienated. If you do very well with a story with multiple characters and leaps back and forth in time, you'll probably like it. Unless you have to listen to it for a book group or class, or to impress your friends, don't do it!
Great narration, great story lines. Easy to listen to. Very funny in one chapter. One of the best audible books.
I did not learn to read until I was in my twenties. Have not stopped since. The two most important things to learn are reading & chess.
After listening to the audio I had to buy two hard copies. One for my book shelf to read in the future. One to lend to friends. I have never read a book of this genre. Each segment is a story on its own. There is a thin thread that runs through each segment,connecting them. The stories travel through centuries, starting in the past and going far into the future, then loops back around picking up each story where it left off. Completing each segment. The book has everything, intrigue,science fiction,philosophy, romance, history, music.Mitchell writing in insightful and keeps you thinking long after you finish this book.
The narrators were wonderful. I could listen to "Timothy Cavendish" forever and would love to listen a full novel about that character alone. I did have a hard time with the voice of "Robert Frobisher". I had to keep in mind Frobisher was a young man, the voice sounded like someone older.
The structure of the story and it's insightful conclusions about personal freedom and choice.
The concluding paragraphs.
One of my all time favorite books.