Townhouse Books

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Cloud Atlas: David Mitchell

I have to give this guy credit for pushing the limits of the expected and usual novel form and making it work, more or less. This book consists of six loosely related stories spanning centuries. The book starts with a New Zealand explorer in the 1800s and ends with the world in post-industrial collapse and a narrator whose god is a female clone who had once worked the counter at a McDonald's type place called Papa Song (the futuristic story #5). Two of the stories especially (the clone world and a snarky classical musician in the early 1900s were fantastic. Only one I found patently weak.

Frustration alert: Five of the six stories end abruptly and unresolved in the first half of the book, until they are picked up again in the latter half. And this usually happens at the most critical point when you've just really gotten into the story. If you can stomach that, then I definitely recommend this book.


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  • thanks Emily, much better review than I did. I wasn't sure how to properly convey the essence of the book. I think I liked his other novel Ghostwritten better.

    By Jason, at 2:58 PM  

  • Jason, I love our new search function! (and I should have used it before). I was thinking of reading another one of his -- Ghostwritten it is. Thanks.

    By evt1618, at 1:58 AM  

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