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Summary and book reviews of Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

Cloud Atlas

A Novel

by David Mitchell

Cloud Atlas
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  • Published:
    Aug 2004, 528 pages

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Book Summary

A 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.

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.

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 tracks led 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 noticed me 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 so remote, 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 ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews

The Washington Post

Hopscotching over centuries, Cloud Atlas likewise jumps in and out of half a dozen different styles, all of which display the author's astonishing talent for ventriloquism, and end up fitting together to make this a highly satisfying, and unusually thoughtful, addition to the expanding "puzzle book" genre.

The New York Times Book Review

Mitchell is, clearly, a genius. He writes as though at the helm of some perpetual dream machine, can evidently do anything, and his ambition is written in magma across this novel’s every page.

People

Wildly entertaining ... a head rush, both action-packed and chillingly ruminative.

Publishers Weekly

At once audacious, dazzling, pretentious and infuriating

Kirkus Reviews

Sheer storytelling brilliance. Mitchell really is his generation's Pynchon.

Author Blurb Dave Eggers
One of those how-the-holy-hell-did-he-do-it? modern classics that no doubt is - and should be - read by any student of contemporary literature.

Author Blurb Michael Chabon
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.

Reader Reviews

Levi H

Loved It
By far one of the best novels I have read in a long time. Mitchell does a great job with characters as they are all unique but still have obvious similarities. Recommend to anyone with a lot of time on their hands.

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