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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.
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.
27 of 28 people found this review helpful
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.
126 of 136 people found this review helpful