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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 (3161 )
5 star
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3.8 (2374 )
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Story
4.2 (2363 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Bill provincetown, ma, United States 03-08-13
    Bill provincetown, ma, United States 03-08-13

    I like horror, science fiction, transgressive writing, and some nonfiction.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "really well written"

    This is an amazing book with so much going on. It really is well worth a read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Everett, WA, United States 02-07-13
    Karen Everett, WA, United States 02-07-13 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    95
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    "This was an incredible book!! And a great listen!"

    David Mitchell can seriously write. It's like 6 mini-novelas with the slightest undercurrent of a theme running through all of them. Each story is so unique from the others presented, and so well done, it's hard to imagine that they're all contained in one book. Other reviewers cautioned against trying to listen haphazardly to this one, I think that's sage advice. But I didn't find it difficult to follow as long as I paid attention. It's funny, poignant, serious and intense, all wrapped into one. This is one I will listen to again.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    douglas esper Cleveland, Ohio 11-15-12
    douglas esper Cleveland, Ohio 11-15-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "unfinished business"
    Would you try another book from David Mitchell and/or the narrators?

    wow, this is one of those reviews that you never want to write...this book has been a struggle to listen to, and i am still not done. i listen at work and am finding it very difficult to follow this book. the narrators i have heard have all been excellent, but the story starts off very confusing and is written in more of a literary/fancy style than i normally read, so please don't pass over this book on my account. twice, i have started other books and come back as the premise of the book sounds great...so far, however, i'm not on cloud atlas 9


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jon SAN DIEGO, CA, United States 11-13-12
    Jon SAN DIEGO, CA, United States 11-13-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Cloud Confusing"
    Would you try another book from David Mitchell and/or the narrators?

    Unlikely.


    Has Cloud Atlas turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Yes.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Multiple narrators without transitions between narrations or transitions between sections.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment


    Any additional comments?

    Some sections or speakers of this book seem to ramble on and do not connect to other sections and fail to hold my interest.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    11-12-12
    11-12-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    77
    16
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    Story
    "Wow!"

    This novel had received so much attention and seemed so interesting that I decided to listen. I thought the beginning of the first story was okay but soon began to sense that there was going to be much more here...and there was. David Mitchell's story and a wonderful group of readers bring you deeper and deeper into stories that are very much related. I don't want to give anything away but you will be delighted with where you are taken.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Casey Curtis Ontario, OR 11-07-12
    Casey Curtis Ontario, OR 11-07-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    7
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    "It's so dull"

    I really tried to get through it. I made it to the third story couldn't take it anymore. There are no redeeming qualities to give this book. I can't believe this was made into a movie and now I understand why its tanking.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura Shell Beach, CA, United States 11-05-12
    Laura Shell Beach, CA, United States 11-05-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Yikes ! No Thank You"
    Would you try another book from David Mitchell and/or the narrators?

    By the author probably not, by the narrators definitely yes


    Would you ever listen to anything by David Mitchell again?

    I'm really not sure. It's possible I would try another one of his books.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I don't really have one


    What character would you cut from Cloud Atlas?

    the book was like a jigsaw puzzle. You really could not cut anyone.


    Any additional comments?

    I struggled to get through this book. It reminded me of an abstract painting...you can't figure out what the heck you're looking at or what the heck it's supposed to mean! I could have skipped through the entire book and just listened to the last paragraph or two .

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth CHARLOTTE, MI, United States 11-02-12
    Elizabeth CHARLOTTE, MI, United States 11-02-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    "Very disappointed!"
    Would you try another book from David Mitchell and/or the narrators?

    Probably not


    Would you ever listen to anything by David Mitchell again?

    No - he is not a good storyteller. Cloud Atlas had a great concept but the author could not pull it off.


    What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

    They were okay - good accents.


    What character would you cut from Cloud Atlas?

    They were all equally uninspiring.


    Any additional comments?

    I believe the movie will be much better then the book. The author just could not pull it off, good idea, bad execution!

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen Hatfield, PA, United States 10-31-12
    Stephen Hatfield, PA, United States 10-31-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    5
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    "Barely got through it."
    What disappointed you about Cloud Atlas?

    It was complicated and uninteresting and made more complicated and uninteresting by the narrators. I can stomach a poor read of a good book but a poor read of a boring story and I'm out.


    Would you ever listen to anything by David Mitchell again?

    Probably not.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. M. Rathburn Central Vermont 10-30-12
    S. M. Rathburn Central Vermont 10-30-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Hard to get a handle on"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    No, not because this was that bad but there are many that are better.


    What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

    The narrators were very good, definitely a high point for me. Mitchell's use of language and how the narrators used them was impressive.


    Could you see Cloud Atlas being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    I listened to this knowing the movie was coming out. Haven't seen the movie yet but I am curious to see how it is.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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