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 must say, I loved Cloud Atlas. Each of the six stories was well written and engaging, and I loved that each was written in a completely different genre and that each had a unique style. How the stories linked together was not obvious, but they all dealt with some sort of prejudice, and they all had a protagonist fighting against enormous odds. That being said, this might not be for everyone because, I as I mentioned, the things that tie the story together are not obvious. Also, the author stops each story at a midpoint, just as things couldn't seem to get any worse, before completing it later in the book, which can be disconcerting.
I'm terrible with character names, and it is difficult to pick a single favorite character from six stories, but I particularly liked the clone from the future, both because she faced so much overt prejudice with her unique dignity, and because she had to travel so far as a person in order to transform into her final self.
One of the most amazing books I've ever read. I have been listening with audible, but following along on my Nook. Not because the story is unintelligible but because I don't want to miss a single nuance. I love these characters, some of them because they are so loveable, some of the precisely because they are not. The author's use of language is masterful, the story well crafted.
I read the book after seeing the movie. I love them both, for entirely different reasons. The movie is a visual treat and tells the stories very well. But the movie lacks the grace and nuance of the book. Yes, grace. This book is not graceful, but does have its own grace and beauty.
Thanks to the earlier reviewers who warned about the mid-chapter cut-offs as each of the six stories transition from one to the other -- especially the first one. I would have spent a hour trying to figure out how I screwed up the download or accidentally hit something on my MP3 when the first character stops speaking mid-sentence. And, it's true that the first character takes some patience, but stick with him.
One reviewer said the story goes like this 6 5 4 3 2 1 2 3 4 5 6, and that was so helpful for me. (Sorry, I can't remember who you are to give you attribution.) It was so helpful that I'm repeating it for potential readers.
Have faith, dear reader, it all comes together as each story progresses.
This is one that's stuck with me long after I finished it, and in fact, I'm considering grabbing the book (the one with paper pages) to see what it's like with words on the page.
I have no idea how on earth they've made this into a movie because the book is remarkable.
There are parts of this book that were as good as anything I've read (Sonmi~451 a Clone) and parts that bored the hell out of me. The overarching theme kept me coming back for more.
The book has characters and plots and all that sugary goodness but it ends with Mitchell's view:
"For the human species, selfishness is extinction...If we believe that humanity might transcend tooth and claw . . . if we believe leaders must be just, violence muzzled, power accountable, and the riches of the earth and its oceans shared equitably, such a world will come to pass. I am not deceived; it is the hardest of worlds to make real."
Or the opposing view: "Your life amounted to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean."
"Yet, what is any ocean but a multitude of drops?"
I can't compare to anything because it is very unique.
With all the different stories in this book, it REQUIRED all the narrators it was entrusted with.
Sonmi~451---she was so enlightened and I just wanted to hug her and hug her. She was my favorite part of this book and I almost wish there was a whole book devoted to her alone.
I've said too much already.
I enjoyed the unique plot, individual stories, and the subtle/not-so-subtle plot connections between characters. I note some reviewers were concerned about losing details in the audio version. I may have missed a couple, but didn't find it a problem overall. Very well written, interesting use of language, and great performances. I recommend!
Kowalski, someone's looking at my profile. Find them. Rico, time for boom boom. Private, send the family a funeral bouquet.
The moral of the story seems to be, "isn't it horrible how terrible people are to each other. It never changes, but maybe if we all could take a step back and really see the big picture we would get to together and build a better world."
Yes, the multiple narrators added to the overarching themes.
100 Years of Solitude. It had big themes told across multiple story lines
The various readers made me forget sometimes that the characters aren't real.
The story starts a little slow, but give it a chance - it is worth it to stay till the end!
One thing I wish other reviews had said - yes, one section does indeed end in the middle of a sentence. I have never read a hard copy which would have made this obvious, so I was certain something was wrong with my copy, which is not the case!
I loved how each story was done by a different narrator to match the different style the author chose for that party of the novel. The narrator's matched the tone of the story so well. The author does a great job of slowly revealing his point through these amazingly nested stories.
The connections between stories and even the explanations of why they pause and move onto the next story were very clever, almost effortless. You feel connected to each character and the author weaves his themes throughout time. In the beginning the stories are just enjoyable but you aren't sure where the author is going with it all. Yet his arcs get clearer and clearer until he pulls it all together nicely at the end. Wow.
Absolutely. The central chapter, written in a Hawaiian post-apocalyptic dialect, is very challenging in print and makes much more sense when heard. The varying readers do an excellent job portraying the varied tone and generations of the sections.
The punchline of sorts to the end of the Somni story.
This book is dense and literary. The audio may make it more accessible. The first six chapters end mid-way, but this is the design of the book.
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