Thursday, January 23, 2014

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

Cloud Atlas is a uniquely written book.  It tells the stories of six individuals in different time periods from the 1850 to far into the future.  Each story is loosely connected to the others and each story has an element of it that survives for another to find.  It is probably the most unique and original book I have ever read.  The stories of the novel end abruptly and reach a crescendo in the middle of the book and then the individual stories are finished in reverse order.  Ending the book with the same of the same individual whose story started Cloud Atlas.  It's kind of hard to explain so I hope it makes sense.

David Mitchell plays around in Cloud Atlas with style and genre as well as with the language and characters.  This may frustrate some readers but its effect is dazzling and interesting.  The movie of Cloud Atlas enhanced the book for me and I was able to make more connections.  Cloud Atlas is a literary puzzle and you the reader must put it together in your mind.

I've had Cloud Atlas sitting on my shelf for about 9 years because I bought it when it came out in paperback.  I finally made the attempt to read and finish this unique and puzzling book this winter.  I read this book slowly in big chunks and took several 2 week breaks from it.  I'm not sure there is a right or wrong way to read this book because it is not super easy to read.  There are different dialects and language that cause you to pause and read slower.  I found the text challenging but well worth the time and effort I put into it.

Cloud Atlas is a literary tour de force!