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Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell [Jul. 31st, 2012|12:49 pm]


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Title: Cloud Atlas
Author: David Mitchell
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Sceptre, 2004
Pages: Paperback, 864
Language: English
Rating: 10/10 (yes, you read that correctly)
Summary: Seemingly separate stories about different people in different times.

That summary sounds simple and much like a silly literary device; but Cloud Atlas is really in a league of its own when it comes to connecting stories and people. This is truely a unique book: there are stories inside stories inside stories, all written in a completely different style and tone of voice, yet they are all part of one big story-arch.
It starts with fragments in a diary from the end of the nineteenth century, by a man who's traveling on a ship from Australia to the West-Indies.
The next story contains letters from Belgium in 1931 and at first they don't seem to have anything to do with the diary, until eventually you discover a link.
This happens with every next story; each is set in a different era, in a different part of the world. While reading, you slowly find out what everything and everyone has to do with each other.

I must admit I had quite a hard time getting into the first story, mostly because of the very old fashioned language of that author and his rather boring attitude. But the second story was a delight, because the letter-writer has a very cynical view of life and I was immediately very fond of him.

When I eventually understood the structure of the bigger story, it was a challenge to discover the connections (not unlike the puzzle of time in the film Memento). Each story is a reflection of its time and from the point of view of another person and for me they weren't all easy to read, but every part offers precious information which feeds the need to find out more.

I'm deliberately keeping my summary vague, because I'd love for you to discover each character by yourself. So I'm not revealing names or eras, but I'm convinced there are at least more than a few people and periods that you will love.

Absolutely recommended.