One of my favorite posters, Gannon, recently mentioned the book Cloud Atlas
in another thread. Gannon's post has prompted me to read the book again, having read it once before about a year ago. The book was written by David Mitchell, a British writer who tends to write books that require a bit of thought, but not so much as to make them inaccessible to the average reader.Cloud Atlas
is a novel comprised of six stories the first of which begins upon a sailing ship in 1848 and the last in a post-apocalyptic world many centuries in the future. There is a common thread which binds all of the stories and the protagonists of each story together. All of the stories are individualized not only by different settings and people but also by the writing style. The first story is a narration documented in a journal, the second is told through the letters of one character to another, the last by an old shepherd describing legends and myths based upon his knowledge of the time before 'The Fall' to people sitting around a campfire ect.
A few of the devices that were particularly interesting to me include the fact that the first chapter ends in the middle of a sentence. Also, the six stories are told in an historically linear fashion till we are in the distant future. This last story is the longest and takes place in the middle of the book
; then, the time line reverses itself and we revisit each story again in reverse order till we are back at the beginning thus completing the issues that were left unresolved in the first halves of the stories. I admire the ambitiously courageous way the author treats this construction. In my opinion it works and this must be the majority opinion because the book is a "best seller".
In keeping with all of my recommendations I submit that this book may not be for everyone. The stories are very interesting if taken on their own merit but the author is also describing philosophical premises dealing with the ideas of continuum
, determinism, intrinsic human nature and the threads of human experience which echo down the ages - how actions in the past may effect things in the far distant future.
A movie production of this book has been in the works since last year and will be debuting on October 26. The movie, which I am led to believe is a faithful representation of the book, received a ten minute standing ovation when it was presented to a select audience at the Toronto Film Festival.
I normally do not post "outside" links in these forum posts unless they specifically deal with the subject matter of my post so I mention in passing that the following trailer of the movie is being posted ONLY to give you a better sense (or feel) for the book because there is no way I can say in prose what this trailer can describe visually. As someone who has already read the book I feel that the trailer (link below) very accurately describes the scenes and the sensations I felt when reading the novel. Friends of mine who have also read the book agree with me on this point, so perhaps this video clip will whet your interest to read the book.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWnAqFyaQ5s
If you cannot make sense of the trailer is is because you are not supposed to. Each story builds upon the one preceding it. The trailer is meant NOT to give away the story but rather to introduce it.