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Full title Cloud Atlas [permalink]
Language English
Author David Mitchell (author)
Publisher Random House
Categories Novel and science fiction
Publication year 2004
ISBN 978-0-375-50725-0 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 509
Synopsis

Six separate stories running from the late 1800s into the deep future are interwoven in various ways. The chapters first tell the first part of each story until the middle chapter, where then the second parts of the stories are told in reverse order (see the structure, you'll understand).

Review

I watched the movie before reading the book (in fact, watching the movie spurred me into reading it), so my review is naturally colored by that. I loved the movie, and the book is even better.

It's extremely well-written, and the tone of each chapter is fitting for the time period. The language of the chapters that take place in the future is also apt. An example from the chapter "Sloosha's Crossin' an' Ev'rythin' After", set in the deep future:

Yay, Old'uns' Smart mastered sicks, miles, seeds an' made miracles ord'nary, but it din't master one thing, nay, a hunger in the hearts o' humans, yay, a hunger for more.

I strongly recommend this novel. It's a joy to read from start to finish.

Images Back of Cloud Atlas.Spine of Cloud Atlas.Front of Cloud Atlas.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing (Part 1)
  • Letters from Zedelghem (Part 1)
  • Half-Lives: The First Luisa Rey Mystery (Part 1)
  • The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish (Part 1)
  • An Orison of Sonmi~451 (Part 1)
  • Sloosha's Crossin' an' Ev'rythin' After
  • An Orison of Sonmi~451 (Part 2)
  • The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish (Part 2)
  • Half-Lives: The First Luisa Rey Mystery (Part 2)
  • Letters from Zedelghem (Part 2)
  • The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing (Part 2)

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