I wondered where this book was headed when I first started listening, and almost didn't stick with it past the first few chapters. That would have been my loss. Each story within the whole is fascinating by itself, and how they all tie together across time and geography is thought-provoking. I don't always care for multiple readers, but in this case, each was beautifully suited to the character. Each change of reader was a jolt and took getting used to, and then soon it was unimaginable that the new character could have any other voice. Suspenseful, nuanced, sometimes funny sometimes sad, engrossing. I was sorry when it ended.
This is a very different book. I knew nothing about it and was just taking a chance on an author I'd heard about. In the beginning I was honestly turned off but when I realized the format I could enjoy it much better. I would definitely recommend. It's amazing how the author could write so drastically different in each of these short stories. I love how he takes us forward and then backward, each time revealing more.
David Mitchell demonstrates that he is a master of plot, of characterization, of narrative pace, of description -- but he always does that. "Cloud Atlas" now announces that he can also do nimble variations on genre writing, of which this book contains five or six different examples: the epistolary, the antic British, the noir thriller, the adventure tale, the dystopian future, the memoir in dialect, the novel within a novel, sometimes in pure form and sometimes combined with each other. The shifts are quite abrupt: I had just gotten used to the language and conventions of the first story (he doesn't start with the easiest) when it ended mid-sentence. I checked my iPod to see if the download was faulty! But by the end of the second shift, I was prepared for it. Truly thought-provoking, though the format may have something to do with a natural short-story writer finding an approach to a novel. Anyway, dazzling.
This book is made of several different stories, spanning different epoques. As such, each of the stories would need a separate review. The fact is that the stories are only superficially, almost artificially connected among themselves. It almost feels like the author needed an excuse to show the public how well he could write a novel in the "memoir" style, another one in the "thriller style", another one in the "letter form" and in the "sci-fi" style and so on, in juts one single book. once said that the stories are all enjoyable and the narrators are all extremely good. worth the time, but cannot call it a masterpiece.
I loved the complicated structure and the intertwined story lines. I would have liked this to go on forever.
Cloud Atlas takes literary device to what one would think would be ridiculous levels. The book has a nested doll structure that five times stops the reader mid-story. You get to see the front of a doll before it is swallowed by its companion. The sixth doll swallows the fifth and you get view it front and back before 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 are released so you may view their backsides.
Each story has its own reader and they all do commendable work, with a particular tip of the hat to the reader of the sixth story who makes a thick dialect sing.
I loved listening to this book. The story was continually engaging, entertaining and thought provoking. One thing I would suggest. Don't worry when the first story jarringly turns into the second. It's by design. Enjoy the ride from the past to the distant future and back.
Extraordinary. A true literary achievement. The writing and imagination of a genius able to span the history of the world and a spectrum of minute emotions. Every narrator is good and don't be alarmed when the first story seems to end suddenly, it will return.
I am new to audible, and audio books in general. This book and my previous audio fiction "The Bonfire of Vanity" show me what I have been missing. Instead of reading a book and try to imagine the characters' voices, I now really enjoy voices done by professionals, whose voice add realistic dimensions to the story's characters.
I listen to Audible's Cloud Atlas and follow the narration with the book open. Bristish accents, illiterate Hawaii herder's accent for example all become alive and real, with emotions! (The book adds visual spelling of names, foreign phrases for memory's aide, and also add proper demarcation of italics or parentheses not easily discernible from narrator's pause or reading.)
A very well made audio production combined with an intricate thought provoking novel.
This book attempts to be innovative and unique but as each story stone is dropped into the soup it becomes more convoluted...somehow the book needed some sort of ingredient to bind the various ingredients into a literary stone soup that could be nourishing, interesting, and intellectually palatable. As it was it was one of those recipes with so many ingredients that they could never simmer into an enjoyable "read."