We are now at approximately the half-way point for our read-along of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, hosted by Melissa and Care. This has been one of the most fun and different reading experiences I’ve had in years – and this book is unlike anything I’ve read before. The book is a series of interconnected stories – each one moving ahead in time. It’s set up like a staircase: you get part of story 1, part of story 2, part of story 3, part of story 4, part of story 5, all of story 6, conclusion of story 5, conclusion of story 4, conclusion of story 3, conclusion of story 2, conclusion of story 1. As you read, you proceed further in time, and then back to where (when) you started. In each story, a character is reading or experiencing part of the previous section’s story. I have no idea if I’m explaining this well at all, but I’m loving it!
Not only is each section a different story, but it’s told in a completely different style. The first section is a journal, the second letters, the third a novel manuscript, the next a first-person account, the next an interview, and so on. The style of writing, the voice, is so different in each section, that I found it amazing that they were all written by the same author.
My favorite section by far has been “An Orison of Sonmi-451″ – probably because I’m a dystopia-junkie. I love the way he uses an interview to do the world-building – and the language is astounding. In this future, brand names have become nouns. So instead of getting a cup of coffee at Starbucks, the character gets a starbuck. They watch disneys, wear nikes, etc.
I could rhapsodize on and on about how much I’m enjoying this book, but I have things to do today, and so am going to answer some of Care’s questions to close out this post.
Are you enjoying it so far?
Yes, yes, yes! (see above)
Can’t wait to begin the second ‘half’?
I can’t! I’m trying to fight the urge to just skim through the middle section, “Sloosha’s Crossin’ an’ Ev’rythin’ After,” so that I can get to the second half of “An Orison of Sonmi~451.”
Fearful of reading more Adam Ewing?!
I have a very strong feeling that his story doesn’t end well. And that is where the book will end…..
Picked up on any other themes or symbols?
The main one is the comet-shaped birthmark, which I noticed in three of the sections, but might have missed in the others.
The Sonmi section has some amazing wordplay, would you agree?
That was one of the reasons the section was my favorite!
Are we having fun yet?
One last thing – there is a film adaptation of Cloud Atlas in the works, with a cast full of huge names: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, Susan Sarandon, Jim Broadbent, Jim Sturgess…. I’m very curious to see how this book could possibly work as a film.
On to part two!