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Cloud Atlas | [David Mitchell]

Cloud Atlas

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.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: This is an ingenious novel composed of six embedded stories interconnected with subtle nuance and utter finesse. Brilliant prose, sharp social criticism, and six distinct narratives combine to make this a superb listen. The varying narrations provide unique tones and voices for each story, perfectly mimicking Mitchell's writing. I'd have given Mitchell the Booker Prize for this. —Chris Doheny

Publisher's Summary

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 civilization: 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, shortlisted for the Booker Prize, 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.

This audiobook is available exclusively as an audio download!

Note to customers: The complicated format of this novel makes it seem that the audio may be cutting off before the end of a story, accompanied by a change in narrator. However, this is the author's intention, so please continue to listen, and the stories will conclude themselves as intended.

©2004 David Mitchell; (P)2004 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

  • 2005 Audie Award Nominee, Literary Fiction

"[Mitchell's] exuberant, Nabokovian delight in word play; his provocative grapplings with the great unknowables; and most of all his masterful storytelling: all coalesce to make Cloud Atlas an exciting, almost overwhelming masterpiece." (Washington Times)

"[Cloud Atlas] glows with a fizzy, dizzy energy, pregnant with possibility and whispering in your ear: listen closely to a story, any story, and you'll hear another story inside it, eager to meet the world." (The Village Voice)

"A remarkable book....It knits together science fiction, political thriller, and historical pastiche with musical virtuosity and linguistic exuberance: there won't be a bigger, bolder novel next year." (The Guardian)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (3647 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Michael WORCESTER, MA, United States 12-05-12
    Michael WORCESTER, MA, United States 12-05-12 Member Since 2012
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    4
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    "Great story, mostly good narration"
    What did you love best about Cloud Atlas?

    The story in Cloud Atlas is great, and while every story is archetypal, there all very good.


    What other book might you compare Cloud Atlas to and why?

    Well, the individual stories compare well to other books, but few other books have such contrasting and stark narratives. The stories set in the distant future are straight Huxley, where as those set in the 19th and early 20th century remind me a lot of David Liss.


    What three words best describe the narrators’s performance?

    Varied, well done


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I did not have an extreme reaction. Laugh? Sometimes. I really liked the Somni (sp, audio book) chapters set in the distant future. I thought, by and large, they were great totalitarian future imperfect stories.


    Any additional comments?

    There are 5 or 6 narrators in this book and only the Louisa Ray narrator stands out as being bad, in my opinion. For chapters that should be filled with over-emphasis, like an airport bookstore mystery novel, they're read like a computer program. Although that was probably my least favorite section in the book anyway, because it kept going on and on... But from the very start I didn't like how that chapter was read, too sterile, without the right pacing. But, otherwise, the book is very well read.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Don Brandon, MS, United States 12-05-12
    Don Brandon, MS, United States 12-05-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Great, unusual story"
    Would you listen to Cloud Atlas again? Why?

    I'd listen again to tie all the pieces together, after I see the movie.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Cloud Atlas?

    The turns in the second halves of the stories.


    What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Each narrator gave their own time and setting to the story.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William PORTLAND, OR, United States 12-01-12
    William PORTLAND, OR, United States 12-01-12 Member Since 2014
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    "Great Book Love This Book"
    Would you listen to Cloud Atlas again? Why?

    YES .....there is so much in this book that you have to listen to it again. I like that they have different actors reading each part of the book. I feel it makes the stories have greater depth.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Cloud Atlas?

    I really like the last two stories in the book


    Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes the book "Thirteen"


    Who was the most memorable character of Cloud Atlas and why?

    sonmi 451


    Any additional comments?

    read the book or listen to it but don't pass it up

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Naugatuck, CT, United States 11-29-12
    Mark Naugatuck, CT, United States 11-29-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Loved it. A very enjoyable read."
    Would you consider the audio edition of Cloud Atlas to be better than the print version?

    Better in many ways. I have both the print and listened. Having the different stories read by different performers really helped. And the language flows well.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Sonmi-451. It was the most gripping story, and I sympathized with her the most.

    Timothy Cavendish was another great character. His story was well done and very funny, though completely different.

    They all are very good stories on their own and different.


    Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Sonmi and the statue of Siddharta


    Any additional comments?

    Wonderful puzzle of a book, interweaving the six very good stories in simple and complex ways.

    It took me a while before I realized that the 451 in Sonmi-451 was a harkening to Fahrenheit 451 classic.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Mooresville, NC, United States 11-28-12
    Amazon Customer Mooresville, NC, United States 11-28-12
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    "This is why you should listen to audiobooks"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Cloud Atlas to be better than the print version?

    Yes, definitely. The range of expression and the choice of voice actors for the various stories really brought the characters to life. The singsong phrasing of Zachry's story was particularly fun to listen to.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    It's tough, but I think I liked Timothy Cavendish the best. His sense of humor and self importance worked well to give his story a welcome break from the seriousness of the stories on either side.


    What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

    Each narrator was really well suited to the character for their respective stories. They brought a depth to the book that I might not have found just reading the text.


    Any additional comments?

    If anybody asks me why I listen to audiobooks rather than read the text versions, all I have to do is direct them to this one. This is a great combination of a wonderful book and absolutely first-class narration that makes the whole more than the sum of the parts. This is easily one of the best audiobooks out there, and I can't recommend it enough.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonathon C. Gregg Kansas 11-28-12
    Jonathon C. Gregg Kansas 11-28-12
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    "Cloud Atlas: An experience"
    Where does Cloud Atlas rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    The story was engaging and enthralling. The performances were done by a different actor for each story arc, giving the strong sense of jumping forward and backward, as the story does.


    What other book might you compare Cloud Atlas to and why?

    While it is not a book, the Movie Memento (2000) has a similar plot arrangement wherein the story is not told A to B but rather meets in the middle.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The ordeal of Timothy Cavandish was a laugh riot and an exciting escape story.


    If you could rename Cloud Atlas, what would you call it?

    I've never been good with names but Cloud Atlas is spot on.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephanie Richmond, CA, United States 11-28-12
    Stephanie Richmond, CA, United States 11-28-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Modern masterpiece!"

    I started out reading the book version of Cloud Atlas, but after skimming a bit and seeing that the Audible version had a variety of narrators, decided that it would be more enjoyable to listen to the different voices--and it was! Some of the narrators are better than others, but in general they tell the story well. In fact, I enjoyed the story so very very much that I'm now reading the paper version. The story--stories, actually--are interwoven with a sure, but delicate, hand. Author David Mitchell is a genius!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fred Tucker, GA, United States 11-27-12
    Fred Tucker, GA, United States 11-27-12 Member Since 2015
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    "Great book, great cast performance"
    What made the experience of listening to Cloud Atlas the most enjoyable?

    This was a very good book and having a cast of voice actors reading each section of the book was a good choice. I did not find the time jumps confusing, but I knew they would happen.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tony san diego, ca 11-26-12
    Tony san diego, ca 11-26-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Best AudioBook of the century?"
    Would you listen to Cloud Atlas again? Why?

    If you love the English language and all of its great authors, you will love this book and this audio performance. I can only compare this to Moby Dick in its complexity or Charles Dickens in its story telling. The audio recording would have delighted Orson Wells. What is wonderful about this book is that it moves along at a nice clip, with stories that make you laugh out loud or gasp. Your mind is intoxicated. I am half way through the book and my greatest fear is that the book will end and I will have to rejoin the real world.

    David Mitchell is a genius, the actors superb.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sophia 11-19-12
    Sophia 11-19-12
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    "Superb!"
    Where does Cloud Atlas rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of my favs!


    What other book might you compare Cloud Atlas to and why?

    I would compare Cloud Atlas to Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 becuase of its sci-fi flair and excellent characterizations.


    What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    No comment


    If you could take any character from Cloud Atlas out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    I would take Adam Ewing because of his humanity.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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