I just had to read this book for some strange reason, it was a compulsion that haunted me for 12 months. The spectre of the book Cloud Atlas hovered around my consciousness demanding to be read. OK, so I had actually been viewing many other bookish type people discussing this book, and telling all and sundry that it was something pretty special and unique.
My catalyst to finally reading the book was seeing that the movie was about to be released. I decided that I should read the book, before I see it, definitely my preferred order of book/movie read/view. I am still yet to see the movie and a part of me is a little reluctant after reading the book. How they could make it into something watchable and how would they interpret the worlds.
Cloud Atlas opens with the first of 6 independent stories. The Journal entries of Adam Ewing recounts his voyages through the Pacific, his impressions of the native islanders and his shipmates. This tale evoked a bit of the Long John Silver in many ways, I felt that the sinister underbelly of the tale was ever present and suggestive of another worldliness. This undercurrent remains throughout the whole book for me, across all the individual stories and characters. I did enjoy this tale which ends rather abruptly leaving the reader hanging, waiting for some resolution to the situation.
The rest of Cloud Atlas treats us in much the same fashion. Taking us into worlds and leaving us hanging at the end. I am intrigued by the very slight interconnectedness of the characters across stories. I’m still not really sure I understand how the connections work, is there a greater meaning and purpose?
I only struggled with a couple of the stories, not sure how they were going to hold my interest, but full credit to Mitchell’s writing and character development. These people positively leap off the page.
I particularly enjoyed the post-apocalyptic world that was Korea (I think), where genetically modified humans perform menial tasks and the brave new world of Logan’s Run is played out (who doesn’t love a bit of Logan’s Run). It was very cool and the link back to one of the previous stories was interesting, but not integral.
That is where my conundrum with this book exists, the linkages dont feel fluid, they are not woven into the story in a meaningful way. It is just a happenchance of association.
So would I recommend you read it? Definitely yes, and then could you please come back and explain it all to me? I’m going to wait for the Blu-Ray when it is released and see if that will help me figure out what I’ve read.