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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 (3716 )
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4.2 (2844 )
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Debbie Lloyd Aberdeen WA 12-20-12
    Debbie Lloyd Aberdeen WA 12-20-12 Member Since 2015

    Debbie

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    12
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A little hard to follow"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    There were a few stories that were hard to follow, but overall it was a good listen.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D Surprise, az United States 12-13-12
    D Surprise, az United States 12-13-12 Member Since 2006
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    91
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An excellent listen!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Cloud Atlas to be better than the print version?

    Due to the nature of the story and and the 'jumps' in the story line, changes in gramer and context that follows the shifts in the story line, it is quite a bit easier and more enjoyable to listen to this audio than trying to read the book.


    Any additional comments?

    After seeing the film first, I enjoyed the book much more

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer 12-10-12
    Jennifer 12-10-12 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    14
    2
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    Performance
    Story
    "Epic and thought provoking on so many levels"
    What made the experience of listening to Cloud Atlas the most enjoyable?

    This was a wonderful story unlike any I had ever read before. The multiple story lines and characters asked me to think about our society in a completely different light than I ever had before. David Mitchell is astounding in the subtle ways he brings out the similarities of our past with what could be our future. This was beautifully written and I can't wait to read it again.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bill Fayetteville, PA, United States 12-06-12
    Bill Fayetteville, PA, United States 12-06-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    23
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Multiple Characters in a Unified Story"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes but it requires patience and concentration to follow a great story.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The transitions back and forth to the future and the past.


    Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

    Each narrator


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

    When it was revealed that Dr. Goose was a fraud.


    Any additional comments?

    Although I have seen mixed reviews on the movie version, I will see it to compare it with the book.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen San Diego, CA, United States 12-05-12
    Stephen San Diego, CA, United States 12-05-12 Member Since 2012

    I'm just this guy, y'know?

    HELPFUL VOTES
    37
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    30
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    2
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    Story
    "Intriguing..."

    This was a very enjoyable and well-written book. Personally I would recommend reading the book before seeing the movie, although the movie was a very faithful and interesting interpretation. I just wish that I had read the book first so that I had more understanding of the depth of the fictional universe.

    Following the souls through time is a fascinating idea and I think it's very well-executed.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael WORCESTER, MA, United States 12-05-12
    Michael WORCESTER, MA, United States 12-05-12 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
    HELPFUL VOTES
    0
    ratings
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    8
    1
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    0
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    Story
    "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
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    34
    4
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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
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    4
    3
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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
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
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    14
    5
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Story
    "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

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