Monday, 30 August 2010

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

Cloud Atlas reads almost like a collection of short stories. There are six different characters over six generations and aside from one character they each have two chapters in which to tell their story. The characters all differ from each other and so to their stories which are based in the past, present or far future. The one thing these different characters do have in common is that they possess the same soul and the same birth mark, which is comet shaped, located on their backs.

Because the book is written in this way some of the characters stories are going to appeal more than others. I found a couple of the chapters almost excruciating and tedious to read while others like the more sci-fi chapters I thoroughly enjoyed. The different characters have all been given a completely different voice to each other and each chapter not only incorporates this but also the time period in which the character lives in. On more than one occasion this caused me to stop reading and think how clever it all was.

Unfortunately overall though I could not link the stories to each other sufficiently to create a common theme which left me wondering what the point of it all was. I was expecting a remarkable conclusion at the end but Mitchell didn’t give me one. I am quite willing to accept that perhaps I just didn't ‘get it’ or perhaps Mitchell didn't want to give the reader all the answers. But while I thought the structure was cleverly written I fail to see why people make such a huge fuss of this book.

Would I recommend it? I think if your thinking of reading this then perhaps you would be better off reading other reviews rather than just going with my thoughts on this one.

Verdict 3/5

Posted by Jess


  1. This one is on my radar as I've been told I have to read it! Thanks for the review - I didn't even know what it's about...

  2. I wonder how I'll feel about this. It seems to divide opinions quite a bit. In any case I think I'll probably start elsewhere with Mitchell.

  3. Although I see you've already gotten it (no surprise there), I must tell you I passed on an award to you!

  4. Booksploring - alot of people really recommend this, I didnt go too much into detail on each of the stories as they are all completely different and it would end up being a very long review but it did feel a little like reading a book of short stories.

    Nymeth - it does doesnt it? There was nothing wrong in the way it was written, the writing itself was very good but for me there was a lack of connection.

  5. So many members of my book club have read this and all loved it - the fact that it reads a bit like a journal from several different people's telling puts me off a little.

  6. I have this on my shelf waiting for me. It's been there for years and years (strangely that fact will be in my blog post tomorrow) I still feel nervous getting to it. For good reason, it sounds like..

  7. Petty Witter - some of the stories are quite good but I think my problem with the book was that they didnt really connect so it was like reading a bunch of seperate stories.

    Clover - I am very much in the minority with this book so dont listen to me ;)