Cloud Atlas: A Novel

David Mitchell

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 civilisation — 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, 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.

status checked out
genre Sci-Fi
publisher Modern Library
publish date November 20, 2012
popularity checked out 5 time(s)


  • By Bill Svoboda -

    Yet another “3.5 stars”. “Cloud Atlas” is not as good as David Mitchell’s later novel “Bone Clocks”-or really any of the best modern/postmodern novels, sci-fi or otherwise. Arguably, the most valid reason for having “Cloud Atlas” is that it was made into a very fine big budget film – a rare case where I thought the movie was better than the book. Lest I sound like I’m being too harsh-and to give you an idea of how high my bar is for “Exceptional” – check out Robert Stone’s “A Flag For Sunrise” and “Damascus Gate” Hari Kunzru’s “Gods Without Men” or (especially-since it covers very similar ground) Kim Stanly Robinson’s “Years Of Rice And Salt”. It is NOT that David Mitchell is unlikeable and/or bad as a writer (“Bone Clocks”, for instance has some amazing and memorable chapters)-it’s that (so far) he has problems (structural and otherwise) with his novels-and ends up with a finished product that is less (as opposed to greater) than the sum of it’s parts (and yes, that happens to be one of my main criteria in judging the quality of a book’s contents-fictional or otherwise.)

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