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Cloud Atlas: A Novelby David Mitchell
Synopses & Reviews
Thursday, 7th November-
Beyond the Indian hamlet, upon a forlorn strand, I happened on a trail of recent footprints. Through rotting kelp, sea cocoa-nuts & bamboo, the tracksled me to their maker, a White man, his trowzers & Pea-jacket rolled up, sporting a kempt beard & an outsized Beaver, shoveling & sifting the cindery sand with a teaspoon so intently that he noticedme only after I had hailed him from ten yards away. Thus it was, I made the acquaintance of Dr. Henry Goose, surgeon to the London nobility. His nationality was no surprise. If there be any eyrie so desolate, or isle soremote, that one may there resort unchallenged by an Englishman, 'tis not down on any map I ever saw.
Had the doctor misplaced anything on that dismal shore? Could I render assistance? Dr.Goose shook his head, knotted loose his 'kerchief & displayed its contents with clear pride. Teeth, sir, are the enameled grails of the quest in hand. In days gone by this Arcadian strand was acannibals' banqueting hall, yes, where the strong engorged themselves on the weak. The teeth, they spat out, as you or I would expel cherry stones. But these base molars, sir, shall be transmuted to gold& how? An artisan of Piccadilly who fashions denture sets for the nobility pays handsomely for human gnashers. Do you know the price a quarter pound will earn, sir?
I confessed I didnot.
Nor shall I enlighten you, sir, for 'tis a professional secret He tapped his nose. Mr. Ewing, are you acquainted with Marchioness Grace of Mayfair? No?The better for you, for she is a corpse in petticoats. Five years have passed since this harridan besmirched my name, yes, with imputations that resulted in my being blackballed from Society. Dr. Goose lookedout to sea. My peregrinations began in that dark hour.
I expressed sympathy with the doctor's plight.
I thank you, sir, I thank you, butthese ivories-he shook his 'kerchief--are my angels of redemption. Permit me to elucidate. The Marchioness wears dental fixtures fashioned by the afore- mentioned doctor.Next yuletide, just as that scented She-Donkey is addressing her Ambassadors' Ball, I, Henry Goose, yes, I shall arise & declare to one & all that our hostess masticates with cannibals'gnashers Sir Hubert will challenge me, predictably, 'Furnish your evidence, ' that boor shall roar, 'or grant me satisfaction ' I shall declare, 'Evidence, Sir Hubert? Why, I gathered your mother's teeth myself from the spittoon of the South Pacific Here, sir, here are some of their fellows ' & fling these very teeth into her tortoiseshell soup tureen &that, sir, that will grant me my satisfaction The twittering wits will scald the icy Marchioness in their news sheets & by next season she shall be fortunate to receive an invitation to a PoorhouseBall
In haste, I bade Henry Goose a good day. I fancy he is a Bedlamite.
Friday, 8th November-
In the rude shipyard beneath my window, workprogresses on the jibboom, under Mr. Sykes's directorship. Mr. Walker, Ocean Bay's sole taverner, is also its principal timber merchant & he brags of his years as a master shipbuilder inLiverpool. (I am now versed enough in Antipodese etiquette to let such unlikely truths lie.) Mr. Sykes told me an entire week is needed to render the Prop
From David Mitchell, the Booker Prize nominee, award-winning writer and one of the featured
The Booker Prize finalist author of Number9Dream recounts the connected stories of people from the past and the distant future, from a nineteenth-century notary and an investigative journalist in the 1970s to a young man who searches for meaning in a post-apocalyptic world. Original. 30,000 first printing.
About the Author
David Mitchell is one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists 2003. His first novel, Ghostwritten, won the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and his second, number9dream, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. He lives in Herefordshire, England.
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