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
"[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)
I found this book to be very disjointed and, in truth, rather boring. Supposedly, the stories going forward and back close and knit together. I found the thread to be very thin and superficially imposed. Even worse, were the final pages, where the rather obvious moral of the book unfolded.
The most enjoyable thing about Cloud Atlas is the continual wonder it evokes: You wonder how anything this bad could have been published, let alone won a prestigious award. You wonder at the stilted language, the numerous cliches, the deadly silly plots, the unbelievable characters, the painful dialog. It's a veritable celebration of how to write an annoying novel. Of particular note is a subplot involving a journalist who uncovers secrets at a nuclear plant. The characters here were so unidimensional, they make Dick and Jane seem deep and nuanced by comparison. And the plot is full of holes and anything but suspenseful. When an author in the next subplot throws a critic out the window, I couldn't help thinking that the book critics who awarded this drivel an award could only have acted out of fear of the same fate.
Finally, I could almost forgive the generally histrionic readers on this recording. Surely, overacting may have been the only plausible way to handle prose like this.
slow and disjointed, this book left me wishing i'd never been drawn in by the award and the reviews. I found the characters uncompelling and the sense of timing felt like a jim jarmusch movie in slow motion. I felt like the author was thoroughly enjoying his pretentious writing style more than developing characters or a story line. Other people really enjoyed this?
I have only listened to the first part and a portion of the second part. I found the archaic language and accents of the readers very difficult to follow. Just as I was getting onto the wave length of the first reader, it abruptly ends in midsentence; the second story starts in; and the language is even more difficult to follow. I am giving up for now. Perhaps, I'll try again some other time, but beware this book is not easy to follow.
The full cast with their distinctive voices really add to this book. It's a complex book, but definitely worth the effort.
Of all the novels I have read in the last year, this one stands out. The author has a remarkable ability to write in different voices. The book is six stories woven together -- starting in 1840, moving up through a post future iron age and then coming back down for the second halves of each of the first five stories. Each piece is written in an unique voice and each works. From a bisexual rake who is also a talented musician wheedling his way into the home of a famous European composer in the 1930s to a cynical, down and out publisher avoiding creditors and having madcap adventures in the present day, to a genetically modified "fabricant" living in the future, Mitchell pulls each voice off amazingly. With a mixture of humor, poinency, irony and extreme intelligence he weaves together the six stories, any of which could stand alone as a fully formed narrative. Brilliant. I loved it so much that I wanted to "read" another by him, and even read a real book, as none other was on audible. Have to say that "Number Nine Dream" cannot compare. This may have been Mitchell's best. I picked it orignially becuase it was a finalist (and the presumptive favorite) for the Booker prize, usually a reliable indicator. And indeed it was.
The future as predicted by the past through a series of what initially do not seem to be very inter-connected stories but that do lead to the post-science world of Zachry in Hawaii. The message of the need to heed our humanity and tolerate our differences is told in a remarkable weaving of stories loosely but very cogently interconnected occurring from the 1850's through to a distant (or maybe not so distant?) future. The readers are all incredibly talented and add greatly to the enjoyment of the novel.
No. My impression is his perceptions are thin, and he is captive to a world view / cultural identity (liberal) which blinds him for truly perceptive and creative work. Nothing wrong with the identity, but the author needs to move beyond it's limitations if he is going to offer anything really interesting, inspiring or creative. Section 3 was so trite I wanted to scream.
No, my assumption is this author is just limited in his abilities.
This was multi-narrator book. They all do a very good job.
The entire 3rd segment is insipid and thin. It relies on superficial tropes about corporate conspiracy and evil doing that is unbelievable. I couldn't bear it. Don't just give me a rehash construct of cultural war perspectives. Give me something that is truly observant of our world, of life, of human nature and of people. I can do with out the superficial rehash of the liberal culture war. It isn't the fact that it is liberal. I would be just as harsh on such a silly effort by someone captive to the conservative agenda. It isn't what I read fiction for. I get enough of this garbage in the news and general media, don't want it
One of the more disappointing titles I have ever experienced from Audible. Some others have been a little flat or boring, had other limits. But given the reviews for this I expected a lot more. Note sure why people think this one is particularly interesting. Found it quite shallow, predictable, and thin.
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