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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.
©2004 David Mitchell; (P)2004 Random House Audio
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Critic Reviews



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)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Aaron on 08-23-12

I laughed often with the kindly Mr. Cavendish




I will start by saying that the ghastly ordeal of Timothy Cavendish was a particularly clever bit of writing.



I am not entirely sure of all the subtleties that may fit his story, with that of the other five stories in Cloud Atlas(if any exist), but a more careful reading sometime in the future may explain it better to me. The other stories were also interesting, and I liked them all in varying degrees. 



Cloud Atlas is one of those books I may actually consider reading again, and that is saying a lot (I very rarely read a book twice). 



If you are contemplating paying a credit for this download, you should be aware however, that this book has a somewhat unconventional plot-thread(?) consisting of six stories. Each story is read or observed by the person in the next story. Each story ends abruptly, except the sixth story, which is finished at once. At this point the novel goes back to each of the other five stories to 'end' them, ending with the first last.




The six stories are: 



The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing

Pacific Ocean, circa 1850.



Letters from Zedelghem

Zedelgem, Belgium, 1931.



Half-Lives: The First Luisa Rey Mystery.

Buenas Yerbas, California, 1975.



The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish

United Kingdom, early 21st century.



An Orison of Sonmi~451

Nea So Copros (Korea), dystopian near future.



Sloosha's Crossin' an' Ev'rythin' After

Hawaii, post-apocalyptic distant future.

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20 of 20 people found this review helpful


By Elizabeth on 01-05-08

thoroughly enjoyed

Initially, I was concerned that I had made a mistake in choosing this book. Some of the reviews made me skittish and the first (of six) parts is quite difficult to listen to because of it's archaic language. In addition, this first part can make you worry that the book isn't going anywhere.
My patience was rewarded for the rest of the book however, and I include the very end-that picks up the tale of this first part again and is much easier to listen to 2nd time 'round.
The readers are all wonderful, but especially the reader of the sixth part. The sixth part also has strange language. But the reader is so good, that I was totally hooked by the second paragraph.
The overall plot was, at first, hard to find. The story is so temporally disorienting that I had to let go for a while and just enjoy the little subplots as they lay. I noticed little gems of connection and filed them away for later.
Then somewhere in the middle, revelation happened and I began to see Mitchell's point: Our past predicts our future, everything is cyclical and EVERYTHING is connected.
That which sails hopefully to an island paradise must later row from it in horror. (I promise that wasn't a plot spoiler in any way) These connections are perfectly nuanced and so finely finessed, that I didn't see them at first. (I suspect this was meant to be; by one of the finest writers of our time.)

I rarely read or listen to a book more than once but I am already looking forward to revisiting this again someday.

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122 of 131 people found this review helpful

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