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.
Posted by Jess