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Cloud Atlas: A Novel


Cloud Atlas: A Novel Cover

ISBN13: 9780375507250
ISBN10: 0375507256
Condition: Standard
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Lee Turnbull, January 31, 2013 (view all comments by Lee Turnbull)
A beautifully rendered novel comprised of six nesting stories. David Mitchell's tour-de-force is both profound and a delight to read.
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(4 of 7 readers found this comment helpful)
lukas, January 30, 2013 (view all comments by lukas)
Wow, people really like this book. I'll admit I didn't read it until after the movie came out, a movie I had no interest in (although who doesn't look non-Asian actors playing Asians?). Plenty of smarter folks than I am think this book is some kind of masterpiece. And it is virtuosic to be sure, with it's dazzling blend of styles and possibly interconnected plot lines, but is sure isn't much fun to read. I dare anybody to read the "Sloosha's Crossin' An' Ev'rythin' After" section out loud without snickering. Heck, just read that title. I don't get the fuss, but this is certainly hermetic post-modern wankery on the vastest, most self-indulgent scale.
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(5 of 11 readers found this comment helpful)
joannebeth14, January 30, 2013 (view all comments by joannebeth14)
It's a unique experience. Don't go see the movie, read the book.
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(3 of 5 readers found this comment helpful)
Shannon Hunt, January 30, 2013 (view all comments by Shannon Hunt)
Not just my favorite book of 2012, but an all-time favorite, Cloud Atlas is a wonderful read. David Mitchell gives us a little bit of everything - sci-fi, mystery, adventure, betrayal, humor - and writes in such a way that keeps the reader absolutely gripped. The narrative takes you on a grand adventure that you won't want to end. Set in six different settings and time periods, the stories could stand on their own; but Mitchell weaves them together beautifully as the book progresses. This is a book I look forward to enjoying again and again, each time discovering new details I didn't catch the first time through.
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FatKitty313, January 30, 2013 (view all comments by FatKitty313)
Reason for comment: I needed to write something...and wanted to nominate for best book of 2012. My reading was a re-read of "Cloud Atlas" and it was even better the 2nd time around (like Vonnegut always said - books are complicated things and there is only so many things we can get with one read). I will admit, I initially picked up the books years ago in a Borders because of the cover. I made the purchase because of the sci-fi elements and the setting of Hawaii for one of the six stories. However, "Cloud Atlas" has to be in my top ten all-time books due to it's structure, prose, and the ability of the author to weave this disparate characters and stories together to make me give a damn and try and find the connections in my stories with those around me. Top notch!
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Product Details

A Novel
Mitchell, David
Random House Trade
New York
Fantasy fiction
Fate and fatalism
Fantasy - General
General Fiction
Literature-A to Z
Edition Number:
1st U.S. ed.
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
August 2004
Grade Level:
8 x 5.31 in 1 lb

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Cloud Atlas: A Novel Used Trade Paper
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Product details 528 pages Random House Trade - English 9780375507250 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

While it was hard to narrow down my list to just five "best of" picks, I didn't have to think twice about what would be my favorite book of the year. In Cloud Atlas Mitchell again uses the format of connecting short stories with recurring motifs into a larger, almost epic narrative that spans the globe and centuries of human history. Filled with wonderful characters, effortless shifts in style, and more imagination than you can shake a stick at, Cloud Atlas will be a tough book for its author to top. Personally, I cannot wait to see him try.

"Staff Pick" by ,

For readers who enjoy good stories wrapped around an inventive structure. Each tale is obliquely connected to another moving forward through time. And each has a totally different voice and style.

"Staff Pick" by ,

If you haven't read David Mitchell's previous novels, let Cloud Atlas be your introduction to his incredible imagination. Here six convincing and wonderfully realized worlds, filled with surprise and originality, loosely intermingle. Each story, inhabited with equally compelling characters, proves the genius of this amazingly gifted writer.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "At once audacious, dazzling, pretentious and infuriating, Mitchell's third novel weaves history, science, suspense, humor and pathos through six separate but loosely related narratives. Like Mitchell's previous works, Ghostwritten and number9dream (which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize), this latest foray relies on a kaleidoscopic plot structure that showcases the author's stylistic virtuosity. Each of the narratives is set in a different time and place, each is written in a different prose style, each is broken off mid-action and brought to conclusion in the second half of the book. Among the volume's most engaging story lines is a witty 1930s-era chronicle, via letters, of a young musician's effort to become an amanuensis for a renowned, blind composer and a hilarious account of a modern-day vanity publisher who is institutionalized by a stroke and plans a madcap escape in order to return to his literary empire (such as it is). Mitchell's ability to throw his voice may remind some readers of David Foster Wallace, though the intermittent hollowness of his ventriloquism frustrates. Still, readers who enjoy the 'novel as puzzle' will find much to savor in this original and occasionally very entertaining work. Agent, Douglas Stewart. (Aug. 24) Forecast: Lots of buzz and a friendly paperback price will ensure strong sales, but like other fashionable tomes (think Pynchon's Mason & Dixon) Mitchell's novel may be more admired than read." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "David Mitchell is a spookily protean writer. His favored technique — he used it in his first novel, Ghostwritten — is to build a long narrative out of shorter ones, stories told in vastly different voices and styles, then cinch the whole patchwork together with some supernal device that reveals their underlying connections. In Ghostwritten, he couldn't manage to pull off that final, unifying gesture, but his third novel, Cloud Atlas, is far more convincing, a genuine and thoroughly entertaining literary puzzle." (read the entire Salon.com review)
"Review" by , "[A] remarkable achievement, a frightening, beautiful, funny, wildly inventive, elaborately conceived tour de force....Each of these tales more than earns its keep. Collectively, they constitute a work of art."
"Review" by , "Great Britain's answer to Thomas Pynchon outdoes himself...maddeningly intricate, improbably entertaining....[O]ne of the most imaginative and rewarding novels in recent memory....Sheer storytelling brilliance."
"Review" by , "Mitchell has a gift for creating fully realized worlds with a varied cast of characters. However...while the clever construction serves to highlight the novel's big ideas, the continual interruptions may distance the average reader."
"Review" by , "The novel as series of nested dolls or Chinese boxes, a puzzle-book, and yet — not just dazzling, amusing or clever but heartbreaking and passionate, too. I've never read anything quite like it, and I'm grateful to have lived, for a while, in all its many worlds, which are all one world, which is, in turn, enchanted by Mitchell's spell-caster prose, our own."
"Review" by , "This rich, imaginative novel parcels out its surprises with impeccable timing, and the less you know in advance, the more pleasure it gives....Exhilarating, challenging, full of invention, this book may show where the future of the novel — and of humanity — is headed."
"Review" by , "Cloud Atlas is no novel for the casual reader in search of easy entertainment, though much of it reads with the ease of a commercial page-turner. It is a finely wrought text, examining both past and future, for our time."
"Review" by , "Mitchell's talents for riotous incident and energetic prose keep the pages turning, but Atlas' disparate strands are linked only by the flimsiest of pretenses....The six cylinders never function as one engine. (Grade: B)"
"Review" by , "Mitchell's exploration of power and greed is riveting, and the way the stories come together, through time and cultures, is astonishing. Cloud Atlas is a novel not to be missed."
"Review" by , "Mitchell possesses an amazingly copious and eclectic imagination."
"Review" by , "Mitchell is, clearly, a genius. He...can evidently do anything, and his ambition is written in magma across this novel's every page. But Cloud Atlas is the sort of book that makes ambition seem slightly suspect..."
"Review" by , "A boomeranging historical novel moving from the Age of Discover to post-apocalyptic Hawaii with stops on the way in China Syndrome-era California and dystopian capitalist Korea. An amazing performance of ventriloquism and brains."
"Review" by , "Watch out for Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, a work of free-wheeling fantasy by a cutting-edge writer."
"Review" by , "Mr. Mitchell is on record that his goal was a reading experience akin to taking apart a Russian doll, then putting it back together. To this extent, he has certainly succeeded....For all its dazzle, though, Cloud Atlas is substance still searching for style."
"Review" by , "[Mitchell's] previous novels, Ghostwritten and Number9Dream, also feature stories that are interconnected, but tenuously. His handling of the technique in Cloud Atlas is more dexterous."
"Review" by , "Some of Mitchell's sections are quite brilliant and moving, while a couple devolve to the pedestrian, marring the overall effect of the novel."
"Review" by , "[A] remarkable book....It knits together science fiction, political thriller and historical pastiche with musical virtuosity and linguistic exuberance: there won't be a bigger, bolder novel next year."
"Review" by , "David Mitchell is by no means a complete unknown, but I shall be very surprised if...Cloud Atlas doesn't propel him into the front rank of novelists."
"Review" by , "One of the biggest joys of Cloud Atlas is to watch Mitchell sashay from genre to genre without a hitch in his dance step. Whether you are a fantasy-book reader or a thriller reader...you will find Cloud Atlas maintains a startling level of authenticity throughout."
"Review" by , "A daunting talent, adept with the global canvas, and able to move from the technological to the spiritual with supernatural ease."
"Synopsis" by , In his captivating third novel, 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.
"Synopsis" by , Now a major motion picture starring Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, and Hugh Grant, and directed by Lana and Andy Wachowski and Tom Tykwer

A postmodern visionary who is also a master of styles of genres, David Mitchell combines flat-out adventure, a Nabokovian lore of puzzles, a keen eye for character, and a taste for mind-bending philosophical and scientific speculation in the tradition of Umberto Eco and Philip K. Dick. The result is brilliantly original fiction that reveals how disparate people connect, how their fates intertwine, and how their souls drift across time like clouds across the sky.

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