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10 thoughts on “Cloud Atlas

  1. says:

    This book proves David Mitchell can be any writer he chooses The six novellas that comprise Cloud Atlas are forgeries and they are original Each adopts the voice of a distinct author The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, but all of the parts are superb It is a sextet, like the one found within the novel, with piano, clarinet, cello, flute, oboe, and violin every individual instrument pleasing, but when played altogether becomes something different and brilliant the Cloud Atlas Sextet.Each novella is broken, torn in two, or interrupted, and later continued after the sixth, which is the only one completed in one section Then the previous five stories are concluded in descending order 1 THE PACIFIC JOURNAL OF ADAM EWINGWritten as a journal The first story is a delightful combination of Melville, Defoe, and James Feni Cooper It has the serious tone and charm of 18th and 19th century literature, but goes a bit too far, just short of mockery It is not parody, nor disrespectful Somehow it has a layer of what invisible mirth The acknowledgments notes Michael King s definitive work on the Moriori, A Land Apart The Chatham Islands Of New Zealand which provided Mitchell with a factual account of Chatham Islands history This part of the story is interesting, and adds historical details essential to the plot in the way Moby Dick does with whaling information.Moriori, 1877, survivors of the 1835 Maori invasion2 LETTERS FROM ZEDELGHEMLetters, one way Robert Frobisher, writes amusing accounts of his escapades in Belgium to his lover Rufus Sixsmith while he works for a famous composer as an amanuensis I pictured Frobisher to be like a young Hugh Laurie There is something of Waugh, or Nancy Mitford in style and humour He finds the Adam Ewing journal The acknowledgments notes certain scenes in Robert Frobisher s letters owe debts of inspiration to Delius as I Knew Him by Eric Fenby.The character Vyvyan Ayrs quotes Nietzsche freely than he admits And like Nietzsche, Ayrs has tertiary syphilis, The syphilitic decays in increments, like fruit rotting in orchard verges Eric William Fenby, OBE 22 April 1906 18 February 1997 was an English composer and teacher who is best known for being Frederick Delius s amanuensis from 1928 to 1934 He helped Delius realise a number of works that would not otherwise have been forthcomingIn 1928, hearing that Delius had become virtually helpless because of blindness and paralysis due to syphilis, he offered to serve him as an amanuensis Wikipedia Delius, Delius amat, Syphilus, Deus, Genius, ooh Kate Bush The amanuensis Eric William Fenby 3 HALF LIVES, THE FIRST LUISA REY MYSTERY It s terrible in a good way A classic thriller mystery crime novel Cheesy style and plot spunky girl reporter, whose father Lester Rey, now dead had been a cop fighting corruption Several highly improbable escapes from certain death All the clich s of this genre are here and brilliantly strung together Rufus Sixsmith, the addressee in the previous episode, is a key character and his letters from Zedelghem are discovered after he is murdered Does Sixsmith s prediction about the nuclear reactor come true Lester del Rey 4 THE GHASTLY ORDEAL OF TIMOTHY CAVENDISHThe memoir of a sixty something publishing agent, trapped in an old folks home Cavendish is like an acid tongued old geezer Randle McMurphy, battling another Nurse Ratched but as written by Martin Amis He reads the manuscript for Half Lives, intending to publish it, as well as his own memoir, I shall find a hungry ghostwriter to turn these notes you ve been reading into a film script of my own Nursey5 AN ORISON OF SONMI 451 Written in Q A form sci fi a dystopian future, the economy dependent on slave clones The clone Sonmi becomes the first stable, ascended fabricant, i.e., fully human Some plot elements of Bladerunner.Sonmi later watches the film disneys The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish, one of the greatest movies ever made by any director, from any age Ray 451 Bradbury, Orwell, Huxley and Plato s Republic are referred to Somni is Winston Smith and she is Jesus.Doona Bae as Sonmi6 SLOOSHA S CROSSIN AN EV RYTHIN AFTER Futurist speculative fiction civilization has fallen, the few remaining people live a basic existence Sort of a Tolkienian fantasy but Mitchell s marvelous invented dialect is Burgessish Zachry the goatherder there and back again is a Valleysman on Big I, Ha Why Valleysmen only had one god an her name it was Sonmi.Zachry sees a recording of Sonmi s Q A interview, because there is a small group of advanced survivors, Prescients, and one arrives on a great ship to live on the island, to learn the ways of these primitive people They have a Prime Directive but who ever follows those They are nonbelievers,We Prescients, she answered, after a beat, b lief when you die you die an there ain t no comin back.But what bout your soul I asked.Prescients don t b lief souls exist.But ain t dyin terrorsome cold if there ain t nothin after Yay she sort o laughed but not smilin , nay our truth is terror some cold.Jus that once I sorried for her Souls cross the skies o time, Abbess d say, like clouds crossin skies o the world Sonmi s the east n west, Sonmi s the map an the edges o the map an b yonder the edges Mauna Kea Observatories on Big I, Ha Why The stories are connected by certain reoccurring themes and events Truth Time Betrayal Drugs Poison Power Captivity Masters and Slaves Freedom Cruelty Worship The Number Twelve, Seven Worms, Snakes, Ants, Souls Birthmarks Escape Letters Books Music Films Aging Corporate Society Religion And there are many literary allusions Moby Dick The Bible Don Juan Time s Arrow To the Lighthouse The Gulag Archipelago An Evil Cradling Nineteen Eighty four Fahrenheit 451 All Quiet on the Western Front Nietzsche, Kipling, Conrad, Zane Grey, Homer Harry Harrison And .One Novella is slyly presented within another I found myself clinging to the first narrative as the real one When it turns up as a curious dismembered volume in the second, damn I swallowed hard and justified such an appearance as quite possible Then it is merely mentioned in a manuscript the third novella which is being read in the fourth Got that making it entirely illogical to continue my belief And worse Frobisher says, Something shifty about the journal s authenticity seems too structured for a genuine diary, and its language doesn t ring quite true but who would bother forging such a journal, and why So I m forced into using doublethink of the highest order The fact is, you want each of these narratives to be the real one They are that good The structure weakens the reader s fantasy that this is real It becomes very awkward, like explaining a time travel paradox Stillnever underestimate the power of doublethink Autua, Adam Ewing, Robert Frobisher, Rufus Sixsmith, Timothy Cavendish, Sonmi, Zachry, Meronym, all remain with me Sob.


  2. says:

    Dear David Mitchell,I ve been trying to figure out the nicest possible way to tell you what I m about to tell you I sort of feel like I ve failed you as a reader, but I just couldn t suspend my critical mind for long enough to enjoy your book how I envied my uncritical sisters I hate it when my own words come back to bite me in the ass, don t you Don t take it personally though I m the girl who didn t like The Matrix I know, right How could anyone dislike The Matrix All of the neat o keen o special effects, the super cool concept of the world actually being run by sentient machines, the homage to Baudrillard If you haven t read Simulacra Simulation, read it It ll blow your mind By the way, Baudrillard said the siblings Wachowski completely misinterpreted his work, but I digress , and the kick ass soundtrack okay so it wasn t really all that kick ass Unfortunately at the end of the day, Keanu Reeves can t act his way out of a paper bag, and this girl just couldn t get past that fact For the first half of the novel, I kept trying to psych myself up by reminding myself how much I disliked the first four episodes of season one of The Wire This is just another contrived crime drama Dominic West really needs to work on his American accent Not enough Idris Elba Then we meet Omar Little and BAM It all starts to click Don t you just love Omar shhhh, no spoilers, I m only on season three I kept waiting for that BAM moment, but it just never came Instead I found myself and frustrated, finding fault with every gimmick E.g., If language has devolved in the future, you really need to commit to your chosen alterations If you decide flight will be flite then sight should be site, etc Go all the way, I say Oh what, you think that would be too annoying Ur rite It would b So y chanj da spelng at al It just ends up being distracting Think of another way to say THIS IS THE FUTURE without being so obvious about it Similarly, when you wanted the audience to know it was the 70 s, you could have found a subtle way of doing it than saying THEY RE AT A PARTY LISTENING TO DISCO AND DOING COCAINE It s the 70 s man, I get it It seemed to me like you didn t have enough faith in the intelligence of your audience to get the gist without spoon feeding it to us If the reader didn t pick up on the nested dolls analogy all by themselves or by having Chabon tell them on the back cover you make sure Grimaldi spells it out for us One model of time an infinite matryoshka doll of painted moments, each shell the present encased inside a nest of shells previous presents I call the actual past but which we perceive as the virtual past Etc Revolutionary or gimmicky I ll take gimmicky for 1000, Alex damned if your words don t keep biting you in the ass, eh Davey boy If you ve read the book, than you know that each chapter or story is in some way read by a character in another story journals, letters, film A clever idea for sure The thing about clever ideas is this, you really need to trust that your reader is as clever as you We can pick these things up without you telling us I mean come on view spoiler when Cavendish reads the Luisa Rey story and remarks about the insinuation that Luisa Rey is this Frobisher chap reincarnated hide spoiler


  3. says:

    On re reading in 2012I admit, the surpringsingly and terrifyingly not awful trailer for the upcoming movie adaptation of this book sent me plunging back into its hexapalindromic universe to re solidify my own mental renditions of Frobisher s bicycle, Sonmi s soap packs, and Lousia s imaginary California, among other things I emerge even impressed with Mitchell s mimetic acrobatics, the book s deft allusive integument Is not ascent their sole salvation p 512 , the acrimonious satire if consumers are satisfied with their lives at any meaningful level plutocracy is finished p 348 , and, ultimately, the nakedly deliberate messages about humanity s will to power and our capacity for empathy re re re re re reiterated in the second half I kept wishing Lousia or Cavendish or someone one would say Be excellent to each other Party on, dudes but not wishing in a snarky cynical judgy kind of way Because I actually think Bill Ted s Excellent Adventure is pretty excellent and come to think of it, is also a story set in multiple time periods with strong musical undertones and a message of peace, love, and happiness This book grants me one of the greatest pleasures a book can it restores profundity to a hackneyed truth If you re not into Mitchell s prose, characters, or fancy schmancy structure, though, you might just end up with the hackneyed bit view spoiler One thing that still confuses me about this book is the role of the Frobisher story The other five all deal directly with humanity s inclination toward subjugation that Dr Goose summed up with his law, the weak are meat the strong do eat, but the Zedelgem story is different Robert is stealing from Ayrs in a very material way, but this theft is ancillary His manipulation of Ayrs and the Crommelyncks, while selfish, is also not entirely one sided Ayrs and Frobisher are playing each other, almost equally, and not entirely for the purpose of self aggrandizement but in the service of music, which they both seem to perceive as a force beyond their own persons Jocasta is similarly playing Robert for pleasure but also for her husband I suppose these battles of wills provide the tension that keeps the story flowing, but they still seem WAY different than Maori slave makers and brainwashed fast food servant clones, and different in kind, not just in scale I like the fact that it s different I think the moral refrains in the latter half might have become a bit tiresome without it , but I wonder if there s a reason for its uniqueness Perhaps Mitchell planned to play up the manipulation aspect but couldn t bring himself to fully damn a man with a quest so similar to his own hide spoiler


  4. says:

    Several short stories, that on their own are relatively weak The author has linked them together tenuously with some mistakenly profound pseudo religious nonsense and a tattoo An interesting idea, let down by the poor quality of the writing Pretentious twaddle of the highest order This book seems to be one of those hoaxes to call out hack reviewers I m slightly puzzled by the fact that Mitchell hasn t come forward yet six years after publication.He hits all the usual clich s that are the hallmark of the great modern novel The whole thing is a pretentious construction of six separate stories, with the protagonists in each being incarnations of each other, and ending up in possession of the story of the previous one in some way.The first one is the story of some American lawyer on a ship in the Pacific some time in the 1850s It s supposed to be a journal, but it s a hideously unconvincing one If it wasn t intentional, I don t know why these pretentious cockpouches never seem to be able to manage a decent pastiche it s as if actually reading anything they didn t write themselves is beneath them Replacing every instance of and with , trying to use outdated vocabulary incorrectly, most of the time in the four pages where he repeatedly uses the word kerchief before forgetting it exists again some word of the day calendar is probably responsible for that one , he inexplicably seems to be under the impression it s short for handkerchief , and spells it with a prepended apostrophe , and just sprinkling racism over everything isn t good enough.The fact that it s rife with anachronisms doesn t help.The second story takes the form of letters written by an English twat in the 1930s, who moved to Belgium to escape debt It s probably completely forgettable to non Belgians, but a special kind of annoying to me Mitchell managed to spell Zedelgem as Zedelghem , which was indeed the correct spelling before the spelling reform of 1946, but uses the modern spelling for everything else I don t know enough about the spelling reforms of French in the 20th century to say if he made the same mistake there, but I m guessing he did.Somewhere along the way this English twat finds the diary of the American twat for no good narrative reason, because that s what passes for plot coherence.The third story is an attempt at an action spy thriller type novel set in 1975, the link with the previous one being the addressee of the letters, who passes them on to the protagonist of this one It s as forgettable as the fourth one, which is something about some old guy who s sent the manuscript of this novel in the mail Somewhere along the way a writer throws a reviewer off a balcony, I don t know.The fifth is where he really shines it s set in the unspecified future, and the world has turned into the tritest, most derivative dystopia imaginable It has everything Corporate overlords, genetically engineered slaves, cannibalism, giant totalitarian conspiracies, cutesy spelling gimmicks and neologisms, anything you could want It s so horrifically transparent it makes Snow Crash look like a masterpiece It s even set in Corea.The final one is obviously the obligatory post apocalyptic one, where the protagonist of the last one is worshipped like a goddess It would be merely tedious if not for the ridiculous and completely unnecessary apostrophes everywhere, which render it actively obnoxious and pretty much unreadable Initially, at least, because Mitchell doesn t have the attention span needed to keep it up for a whole chapter.After that he goes through the entire list in reverse order again because he hates you , and then at the very end he tries to make the obligatory vapid point I forget what it was something about drops in the ocean , slaps a suitably pretentious title onto the whole thing, and ships it off to his publishers and watches the money roll in.So yes, if this isn t a deliberate hoax, it s a violently shit novel and a new low in post modern self indulgence I m not at all surprised at the reviews it s received either way.


  5. says:

    All autumn, with the release date of movie adaptation of Cloud Atlas fast approaching, interest in the novel among my Goodreads friends has been high I have not seen many subdued reactions Fans of Mitchell discuss his ability adeptly to assume so many different voices and styles, the intricacy of the novel s structure, and the relevance of its themes for today Detractors have dismissed Cloud Atlas as gimmicky, a work by a much hyped writer who is showing off his style but neglecting to anchor it in themes of substance And some readers simply found his shifts in voice tedious.I recently re read Cloud Atlass, bearing in mind both reactions to the novel I also remembered my first time reading it I was mesmerized by Mitchell s ability to pay homage to six very different genres and voices in the six novellas that make up Cloud Atlas I delighted in tracing connections and interconnections among the different sections of the novel I was entranced by Mitchell s high wire act Mitchell structures Cloud Atlas as follows six novellas are organized in chronological order The first five break off abruptly in the middle of their respective stories The sixth novella, Sloosha s Crossin , appears in its entirety in the center of the novel After its conclusion, Mitchell moves in reverse chronological order through the remaining five novellas, bringing each to a conclusion, but also providing numerous points of connection and resonance among all six novellas The novellas are as follows The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing tracing the travels of Adam Ewing, a notary, who is sailing to Australia and New Zealand in the 1850s, and who comes face to face with human greed on individual and communal levels Letters from Zedelghem the composer Robert Frobisher writing to his friend, Rufus Sixsmith, about his experiences in post World War I Belgium as he seeks fame and fortune while negotiating a precarious relationship with a famous composer at the end of his career Halflives The First Luisa Rey Mystery Luisa Rey, a young investigative reporter, seeks to carry out her father s legacy while combating the corporate greed and corruption of Seaboard Power Inc in Reagan era California The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish a vanity publisher gains and loses a fortune, and loses his freedom, in England An Orison of Sonmi 451 Sonmi 451, a genetically modified being or fabricant, shares her memories of her quest for knowledge and her fight against government sanctioned murder in the name of corporate greed Sloosha s Crossin An Ev rythin After Zachry, a Pacific Islander who is a member of the Valleymen, tells about his experiences with Meronym, a Prescient, as they seek past knowledge and combat the savagery of the Kona and devastation by plague in the future With my second reading of the novel, I delved deeper than focusing on its structure I focused on themes Did Mitchell have the content to support his style and technique, or was Cloud Atlas all style and no substance After a careful re reading, I concluded that Mitchell s approach to writing Cloud Atlas is successful, not simply as an exercise in writing style, but because the style and structure support his exploration of central themes, of critical importance to 21st century readers Knowledge in Cloud Atlas History, Language, Belief, Memory, and ForgettingIn a 2004 interview in the Washington Post, David Mitchell provided some insight into his main interests in writing Cloud Atlas After reading a reference to the Moriori in Jared Diamond s Guns, Germs and Steel, Mitchell became fascinated with the tribe, who lived in the Chatham Islands of New Zealand He researched them and visited the Chatham Islands as well The Moriori appear in Cloud Atlas, as Ewing meets them and attempts to come to terms with the many forces that overpower them Western missionaries in search of souls, whalers in search of profit, and Maori exercising their power over the Moriori through force However, as Mitchell describes, the Moriori s influence appears throughout the novel, as a main influence for a central theme Knowledge can be forgotten as easily as, perhaps easily than, it can be accrued As a people, the Moriori forgot the existence of any other land and people but their own This led to Mitchell s first theme in Cloud Atlas how does knowledge transform over time, from generation to generation How are we shaped, not only by what we remember from the past, but also by what we forget or rework Why is it so important for us to be able to tell stories about the past, and to know the conclusion of those stories Mitchell s interest was fueled in part by his being a father, and wondering what the future would hold for his child, but also by his interest in history Moriori people, 1877Spirit Grove Hapupu, Chatham IslandsAs a novelist, Mitchell explores these questions while also paying homage to different genres of writing, and in some cases specific books that were particularly inspiring to him See the Washington Post interview linked above for a list of these influences However, these voices are not simply an opportunity for him to demonstrate his ability to shapeshift as a writer A quotation from this interview gave me insights into the significance of the different voices that he adopts in Cloud Atlas I learned that language is to the human experience what spectography is to light Every word holds a tiny infinity of nuances, a genealogy, a social set of possible users, and that although a writer must sometimes pretend to use language lightly, he should never actually do so the stuff is near sacred He is not simply showing off his chops as a writer when he adopts six different voices in Cloud Atlas instead, he is creating new worlds, painting pictures of cultures with words In doing so, he considers the knowledge these cultures retained and the knowledge they lost from the past If you read closely and carefully, you can see how language is shifting over time, particularly in the novel s central section, Sloosha s Crossin Some readers found this section to be painful to read, but I loved the challenge of diving into Zachry s language, identifying unfamiliar words, and considering what social factors led to their creation I felt like an ethnographer, listening carefully to stories told by an informant from a very different world, and finding clues to recreate that world That quest to understand, and the impact of discovering points I had in common with Zachry, speak to a larger theme continuity in some aspects of human culture over time, and the necessity of preserving and understanding the past as much as possible, even as it recedes from us in time The title of the novel, Cloud Atlas, itself ties back to Mitchell s conception of history We think of an atlas as a book that guides us through unfamiliar terrain and captures the contours of mountains and valleys, the depths of seas and lakes An atlas of clouds suggests something much ephemeral clouds are constantly moving, shifting, transforming, and eventually dissipating into the ether Mitchell s conception of history is built on a sense of constant movement and change Even as we try to capture the past in works of history, literature, and art, we change and transform its meaning to fit our present In the Luisa Rey story, the engineer Isaac Sachs outlines this view of history as he takes notes during a plane ride The actual past is brittle, ever dimming ever problematic to access reconstruct in contrast, the virtual past is malleable, ever brightening ever difficult to circumvent expose as fraudulent The present presses the virtual past into its own service, to lend credence to its mythologies legitimacy to the imposition of will Power seeks is the right to landscape the virtual past He who pays the historian calls the tune Symmetry demands an actual virtual future, too We imagine how next week, next year, or 2225 will shape up a virtual future, constructed by wishes, prophecies daydreams This virtual future may influence the actual future, as in a self fulfilling prophecy, but the actual future will eclipse our virtual one as surely as tomorrow eclipses today Like Utopia, the actual future the actual past exist only in the hazy distance, where they are no good to anyone Q Is there a meaningful distinction between one simulacrum of smoke, mirrors shadows the actual pas from another such simulacrum the actual future One model of time an infinite matryoshka doll of painted moments, each shell the present encased inside a nest of shells previous presents I call the actual past but which we perceive as the virtual past The doll of now likewise encases a nest of presents yet to be, which I call the actual future but which we perceive as the virtual future.Throughout Cloud Atlas, Mitchell develops this depiction of the interplay of the actual and virtual past and the actual and virtual future in shaping the present In doing so, he leaves the door open for societies to shape their actual futures through this process of creation and reinterpretation However, one important limitation on their ability to do so for the better is the ubiquitous influence of power dynamics across human societies, past, present, and future The Will to Power in Cloud AtlasThis interest in history leads another of Mitchell s themes in Cloud Atlas the centrality of acquisitiveness, of the drive to acquire and possess, to the human experience throughout time He takes a broad approach to exploring this force, as explained in his Washington Post interview Perhaps all human interaction is about wanting and getting This needn t be as bleak as it sounds a consequence of getting can be giving, which presumably is what love is about Once I had these two ideas for novellas, I looked for other variations on the theme of predatory behavior in the political, economic and personal arenas Mitchell is not alone in focusing on wanting, getting, and giving as main factors forming human relationships, and shaping history Anthropologists such as Marcel Mauss in The Gift have explored the role of gift exchange in fostering relationships, and in determining power dynamics, in human societies Historians have looked at these elements from a broader perspective, particularly in studies of colonialism in the early modern and modern world Investigative reporters uncover instances of the abuse of power, as measured by wealth and influence Wherever we turn, our past and present are shaped by power relations and the desire to possess wealth, political influence, land, beautiful objects, and people What does this mean for our future In Cloud Atlas, Mitchell explores power in many manifestations The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing provides a deep exploration of the intersections of colonial interests and local power struggles and how they affected the lives of the Moriori, whose commitment to peaceful interactions with their neighbors were no protection against the combined forces of missionaries, whalers, and the Maori What moral to draw Peace, though beloved of our Lord, is a cardinal virtue only if your neighbors share your conscience Portrait of New Zealand manReception of Captain Cook in HapaeeRobert Frobisher confronts power on two scales on an individual level, he experiences the combined forces of sexual power and greed in his interactions with Vyvyan Ayrs and his wife Jocasta As Ayrs tells him in a final confrontation Any society s upper crust is riddled with immorality how else d you think they keep their power He also explores power in a world scale through attempts to come to terms with World War One What sparks wars The will to power, the backbone of human nature The threat of violence, the fear of violence, or actual violence is the instrument of this dreadful will You can see the will to power in bedrooms, kitchens, factories, unions, and the borders of states Listen to this and remember it The nation state is merely human nature inflated to monstrous proportions QED, nations are entities whose laws are written by violence Thus it ever was, so ever shall it be. Our will to power, our science, and those very faculties that elevated us from apes, to savages, to modern man, are the same faculties that ll snuff out Homo sapiens before this century is out Sonmi 451 provides another perspective on the evolution of conflict and wars, showing that the basic dynamics are not different in her future Rights are susceptible to subversion, as even granite is susceptible to erosion My fifth Declaration posits how, in a cycle as old as tribalism, ignorance of the Other engenders fear fear engenders hatred hatred engenders violence violence engenders further violence until the only rights, the only law, are whatever is willed by the most powerful In corpocracy, this means the Juche What is willed by the Juche is the tidy xtermination of a fabricant underclass.Meronym provides a cautionary perspective on the future that may await us in our zeal to acquire power in all its forms The Prescient answered, Old Uns tripped their own Fall.Oh, her words was a rope o smoke But Old Uns d got the Smart I mem ry she answered, Yay, Old Uns Smart mastered sicks, miles, seeds an made miracles ord nary, but it din t master one thing, nay, a hunger in the hearts o humans, yay, a hunger for .More what I asked Old Uns d got ev rythin.Oh, gear, food, faster speeds, longer lifes, easier lifes, power, yay Now the Hole World is big, but it weren t big nuff for that hunger what made Old Uns rip out the skies an boil up the seas an poison soil with crazed atoms an donkey bout with rotted seeds so new plagues was borned an babbits was freakbirthed Fin ly, bit ly, then quicksharp, states busted into bar bric tribes an the Civ lize Days ended, cept for a few folds n pockets here n there, where its last embers glimmer.Image from Riddley Walker, inspiration for Sloosha s Crossin Is there any form of power than can combat corporate and governmental power and greed Luisa Rey presents another form of power that of public outrage, driven by the media, which can provide a counterweight to greed that acts against the public interest However, what happens when the media is co opted by the same corporate powers which it should be scrutinizing Van Zandt s bookshelf lined office is as neat as Grelsch s is chaotic Luisa s host is finishing up The conflict between corporations and activists is that of narcolepsy versus remembrance The corporations have money, power, and influence Our sole weapon is public outrage Outrage blocked the Yuccan Dam, ousted Nixon, and in part, terminated the monstrosities in Vietnam But outrage is unwieldy to manufacture and handle First, you need scrutiny second, widespread awareness only when this reaches a critical mass does public outrage explode into being Any stage may be sabotaged The world s Alberto Grimaldis can fight scrutiny by burying truth in committees, dullness, and misinformation, or by intimidating the scrutinizers They can extinguish awareness by dumbing down education, owning TV stations, paying guest fees to leader writers, or just buying the media up The media and not just The Washington Post is where democracies conduct their civil wars The Individual and the Forces of History Is There Hope For Our Future After considering the kaleidoscope of human power and greed in Cloud Atlas, are we left with any hope for the future, or is Mitchell leaving us with a pessimistic prognosis Cloud Atlas provides a staggering exploration of different manifestations of power and greed over centuries of human history colonialism, missionary activity, 19th century whaling, the modern quest for fame and fortune, and corporate greed, to name a few In spite of these dark depictions of the negative influence of the human quest for power, Mitchell does provide some hope that individuals can and do make a difference Luisa Rey and her allies uncover the publicize the deception and danger of Seaboard Power Inc. Zachry and Meronym band together and manage to survive plague and attacks from the Kona Sonmi 451 sacrifices herself for the good of the fabricants, and lives on in the religious practices of the Old Uns and the studies of the Prescients Fittingly, Mitchell gives Adam Ewing the last word, as he reflects on his experiences after his rescue from poisoning and drowning If we believe that humanity may transcend tooth claw, if we believe divers races creeds can share this world as peaceably as the orphans share their candlenut tree, if we believe leaders must be just, violence muzzled, power accountable the riches of the Earth its Oceans shared equitably, such a world will come to pass I am not deceived It is the hardest of worlds to make real Torturous advances won over generations can be lost by a single stroke of a myopic president s pen or a vainglorious general s sword.A life spent shaping a world I want Jackson to inherit, not one I fear Jackson shall inherit, this strikes me as a life worth the living Upon my return to San Francisco, I shall pledge myself to the Abolitionist cause, because I owe my life to a self freed slave because I must begin somewhere W hat is any ocean but a multitude of drops Just as Mitchell channels his concerns about his son s future through Ewing s words, so does he provide us with a clear sense of how critical our individual choices are in shaping our own children s future Individuals are not swept aside by the forces of history one by one, we make up these forces The actual future of our species and our planet is in our hands Will we act for a just world, or sit back and contribute to the demise of our planet through inaction, or greed, or cowardice These pivotal questions, and this critical choice, give Cloud Atlas its power.


  6. says:

    okay i have actually written a review for this book, all you early bird voters feel free to take back your picture votes if you hate my words and by feel free, i mean don t you dare why have i never read this book before observe do you see how it is wedged into a teetering, lode bearing stack of books removing it was a tricky business, indeed, but i succeeded, and i am finally reading it so thank you for badgering me about it, internet, because so far, i am really enjoying it REVIEW the other day, when i was still a whopping 60 pages from finishing this book, greg shoved me out from in front of my work computer to revisit his review of the book.he muttered aloud why does anyone even read my reviews karen, don t ever let me compare a book to a mobius strip again and he is both correct and incorrect because it is a good review, but the book ain t nothing like a mobius strip finnegan s wake is a true mobius infinite jest is a motheaten mobius, with key scenes lost along the way this is of a parabola, or the first hill in a rolly coaster if the rolly coaster ride as descriptor weren t so trite, i would explore that here how at first, you didn t quite know what you were getting into, as you made your ascent, but then, once you got to the top and could see what was coming, you just couldn t read through it quickly enough, and there was excitement and screams and probably some of the weaker readers vomited into their laps but it is indeed trite, so i won t make the comparison at all.i can understand the accusations of gimmickry although as we are learning here on goodreads, gimmicks pay off, no even the ones with no substance and if this was just structure without substance, i would completely agree with mitchell s detractors if it were just a series of short stories, butterflied and stacked on top of each other to form a book, it would be less appealing than it is in reality because they do bounce off of each other, the stories they sneak into each others worlds both thematically, and overtly, like foraging little mice on mouse missions sometimes they are each others stories calvino, borges, arabian nights, david lynch i can trot out all the expected names if you aren t tired of reading them.but this is something all its own and i am sure that a second reading would do me a world of good at identifying even of these echoes this is a book that pretty much demands a second pass, which i will gladly give.mitchell addresses the accusations of gimmickry before they are even made, in the novel itself spent the fortnight gone in the music room, reworking my year s fragments into a sextet for overlapping soloists piano, clarinet, cello, flute, oboe, and violin, each in its own language of key, scale, and color in the first set, each solo is interrupted by its successor in the second, each interruption is recontinued, in order revolutionary or gimmicky shan t know until it s finished, and by then it ll be too late.and i love that his anticipation of his own critics yummy.so yeah absolutely read this book if you have been dragging your feet over it but beware some of the stories are going to be much captivating than others i would read an entire book about frobisher, for example people are obscenities would rather be music than be a mass of tubes squeezing semisolids around itself for a few decades before becoming so dribblesome it ll no longer function.agreed.i will definitely read this book again.come to my blog


  7. says:

    At the Museum of Science in Boston, there is an exhibit just outside the doors of the Planetarium that demonstrates through a series of adjacent panels the scale of the Earth in relation to the universe at large The first panel shows the Earth s location in the Solar System as a microscopic dot, mind you , which is followed by a second panel showing the Solar System s location in the Milky Way also microscopic The third panel is of the galaxy s location in its Supercluster or whateverthefuck it s called, and so forth and so on, concluding with a final panel depicting the entire observable universe Reading Cloud Atlas is like zooming out from a point on the Earth to the edge of the universe and then back in again, as represented by those aforementioned panels Do we need a visual aid This novel, of course, has little to do with the cosmos, but the analogy is fitting for describing the vastness of its scope It is a hugely ambitious novel connecting characters through space and time, from Adam Ewing s mid nineteenth century voyage from the Chatham Islands to Sonmi 451 s ascent to sentience at an indeterminate period in Korea s future, and several places in between The novel then goes even further into the future, so far in fact that it becomes indistinguishable from the past, and like the reverse zoom in the video above, the novel collapses back in on itself, ending exactly where it began Yay, Old Uns Smart mastered sicks, miles, seeds an made miracles ord nary, but it din t master one thing, nay, a hunger in the hearts o humans, yay, a hunger for Cloud Atlas is about human slavery and captivity as it exists in all its forms, at all points in time Throughout history, humans have enslaved each other on the basis of skin color and racial background, religious beliefs and cultural or ethnic differences The weak have been enslaved to the strong, the old to the young, and the poor to the well to do This novel goes a step further by exploring the concept of knowledge and how it relates to the socioeconomic hierarchy of the future Knowledge is all that separates us from savagery, and yet it is our most transient asset I am probably making this book sound like a course in sociology, though it is anything but Cloud Atlas is a brilliantly constructed novel delineating the cyclicality of human civilization and it is written by someone who has immediately become one of my favorite authors In fact, David Mitchell s only flaw is that he is indecisive Unable to choose among the various genres of fiction available, he ends upwriting them all Cloud Atlas is historical fiction, it is a dark comedy, it is a crime thriller, it is science fiction, it is a post apocalyptic dystopia.The middle chapter, while the most difficult to read, is easily my favorite In Sloosha s Crossin an Ev rythin After, humanity s perpetual quest for domination provides the very spark needed to create and sustain civilization However, this quest is a double edged sword that becomes its own downfall, since domination is a self defeating goal, and it is this downfall that ultimately causes civilization to collapse But despite its bleak forecasts, Cloud Atlas inspires a glimmer of hope for our future, for as insignificant as one person may be, as much as one fathoms his life to have no impact greater than that of a single drop in a limitless ocean, the question is posed Yet what is any ocean but a multitude of drops The Milky Way s Galactic Center 2009 Serge Brunier, The Sky of the Earth


  8. says:

    I was a third into this book and I could not care less about it It didn t seem we were meant to be Then suddenly my heart was aching for the characters and their stories, and it did catch me by surprise.And now it s been a week since I finished it, and I still find myself thinking about it Okay, you win, book I have to admit grudgingly You ve wormed your way into my heart and I d better make my peace with it.Why did I resist liking it so much Why did this book and I have such a rocky start to our relationship Sheesh, let me think about it as I lie here on the imaginary psychiatrist s couch in Freudian times.You see, its revolutionary structure and all it is basically six stories, five of which are arranged like concentric rings around one central uninterrupted story, slowly moving from A to Z as the stories go along from Adam to Zachry , leads even the author to question, Revolutionary or gimmicky And I say gimmicky, my friend Jarring, unnecessary, trying too hard and yet being needlessly distracting Hey, you can also compare this book to the rings a raindrop makes in still waters See, I can be allegorically poetic when need arises.Would I have been easier for me to love it had it come simply as a collection of six stories related by the larger overarching theme Perhaps But we cannot always chose what the things we love look like, can we Sometimes they just have to have that incredibly annoying anvil heavy comet shaped birthmark, and I have to make my peace with it Another war is always coming, Robert They are never properly extinguished What sparks wars The will to power, the backbone of human nature The threat of violence, the fear of violence, or actual violence is the instrument of this dreadful will You can see the will to power in bedrooms, kitchens, factories, unions, and the borders of states Listen to this and remember it The nation state is merely human nature inflated to monstrous proportions QED, nations are entities whose laws are written by violence Thus it ever was, so ever shall it be War, Robert, is one of humanity s two eternal companions. This book is a message, yes About the never ending power struggle that seems to be inherent to humanity, that drives it forward until one day it perhaps drives it to the brink of demise It s about the amazing resilience of humanity that bends but never breaks under the never ending forward march of the power struggle It is about our seemingly inevitable separation into the opposing camps the oppressors and the oppressed, the powerful and the powerless, the haves and the have nots, justifying those sometimes murky and sometimes crisp division lines with the arbitrary but hard to overturn notions of superiority and entitlement It is also about the never ending human struggle against such division, in one form or another But, Adam, the world is wicked Maoris prey on Moriori, Whites prey on darker hued cousins, fleas prey on mice, cats prey on rats, Christians on infidels, first mates on cabin boys, Death on the Living The weak are meat, the strong do eat..The first last story of Adam and the central middle story of Zachry again, A to Z See how smart I am See Can I please have a cookie now provide the real framework to this story, mirroring each other and reflecting off each other in the repeated motifs of tribal wars and slaughter and the meeting of developed and primitive nations, told from the viewpoints of members of first one and then another and underscoring essential humanity below all the superstitions and prejudices and mistrust The revelations at which both Adam and Zachry arrive are simple and perhaps overly moralistic, but still relevant and humane And despite the moralistic heavy handedness, I loved them Why Because of this one fine day, a purely predatory world shall consume itself Yes, the Devil shall take the hindmost until the foremost is the hindmost In an individual, selfishness uglifies the soul for the human species, selfishness is extinction. As for the rest of the stories, David Mitchell plays with every genre and style he can imagine, trying to fully immerse himself in the period, real or imaginary, that he chooses to describe with mixed results, at least for me I hate to say it, but Robert Frobisher s story the composer of the titular Cloud Atlas musical piece left me cold Luisa Rey s pulpy cheap prose held my attention only for the first half of the story and Timothy Cavendish s flowery adventure only for the second Sonmi 451 for the first half of the story was delightfully reminding me of The Windup Girl that I loved, and fell flat in the rushed second part It almost felt that some of these stories were too large for the limited amount of space Mitchell could give them, and they would have been benefited from expansion But the Sloosha Crossing story Zachry s tale won me over completely, once I got over the migraine induced by overabundance of apostrophes in this futuristic simplistic dialect S r s l y , Mr Mitchell, there had to have been some perhaps less authentic but also less headache causing way to tell this story But I got over the initial defensive response and allowed myself to enjoy this scary postapocalyptic setting which in so many ways reminded me of The Slynx by Tatiana Tolstaya There is just something that I love about the postapocalyptic primitive society setup, something that speaks to me while terrifying me to death at the same time, and this story had plenty of that.And now, apparently, there will be a movie, which explains why everyone and their grandma is reading this book now, getting me on the bandwagon as well The movie, that from the trailer seems to be focusing on the part that made me eye roll just like it made Mr Cavendish, editing Luisa Rey manuscript that damn souls connectedness bit I thought the hints at it were unnecessary dramatic to me enough of a connection came from all of the characters belonging to our troubled and yet resilient human race But to each their own He who would do battle with the many headed hydra of human nature must pay a world of pain his family must pay it along with him only as you gasp your dying breath shall you understand, your life amounted to no than one drop in a limitless ocean Yet what is any ocean but a multitude of drops 4 stars is the final verdict And maybe someday in the future I will reread it being prepared for the gimmicky structure, and I will not let it annoy me, and I will maybe give it five stars I would love that


  9. says:

    One of the most outstanding, hugely epic sagas ever There seem to be six distinct writers in Cloud Atlas distinct, original tableaux their compilation suggesting that the boundaries of writing are endless Mitchell is authentic in every story These really are found objects placed in blatant, cunning contrast with each other But that they were all borne from one fountainhead from one single and chameleonic probably the most chameleonic I have encountered since Peruvian Mario Vargas Llosa s mind this is the reason the novel is now a classic.The movie is a very adequate companion piece, as the myriad loose ends are genuinely brought forth and rendered poetic Really truly madly love em both


  10. says:

    Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield sit having breakfast in a diner discussing, among other things, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell.Jules Well we d have to be talkin about one charming mother pig I mean he d have to be ten times charmin than that Arnold on Green Acres, you know what I m sayin Both laugh Vincent Awright, check this out I just finished reading this book called Cloud Atlas.Jules Cloud Atlas What the f is that Vincent It s a pictorial key to the nomenclature of clouds Early cloud atlases were an important element in the training of meteorologists and in weather forecasting, but that s not the point, I m talking about a book I read.Jules You re always reading books, even in the john.Vincent Yeah, OK, but here s the thing, this book tells six intricately connected stories that revolves around a central connection.Jules Explain.Vincent Ok, here s how it works It starts out with a guy in the 1800s on a whaling ship, or some s , and then it just ends, just stops in the middle of the sentence and then jumps to the next story, in 1931 England.Jules So what s that got to do with the dude in the 1800s Vincent That s what I m trying to tell you, but listen, OK, then the story shifts to 1975 and this chick who is investigating energy corporation crime and this scientist who gets chased for writing a report.Jules Go on.Vincent Then it shifts to the future and this old guy in England who s getting pinched by these small time hoods Jules Stop, just stop, you ve already f lost me.Vincent laughing I know, I know, but wait, then the story shifts to even further in the future to Korea and where people are made, produced, manufactured, whatever the f to be slaves, like working in McDonald s, except it s not McDonald s it like a future Chinese McDonald s Jules Serving up a Royale wit cheese Both laugh Vincent Right, right, so then it shifts to way far in the future and I think it s on Hawaii and they speak this pigeon English Jules OK, ok, wait Hold the f up, why does the author keep shifting stories, what the hell point is all this Vincent I m getting to that, see here s the thing, I think all the people in the each story might be reincarnated and all really the same person, or soul, or whatever.Jules Reincarnated Goddamn But that may be something upon which I can ponder as I walk the earth I ve dreamed before that I was a master swordsman in an alien world, like a samurai master, except my sword was shining purple.Vincent Right, but then, see, he goes back and finishes all six stories, going back from future Hawaii, to the Chinese girl Jules Thought you said she was Korean Vincent Whatever, then to the old guy, then the girl in California in the 70s to the English musician and then back to the dude in the 1800s.Jules Man, that s some f up s , did you pick this up in Amsterdam Vincent No, but the coolest thing is the structure, it s where, OK, it s like he doesn t tell the story in a lineal pattern like most books, but all mixed up, but they re all still connected together, really all telling one big story.Jules Alright, I can see that That is pretty cool, kinda familiar too.Vincent Right, right, and by doing so the writer creates a dramatic tension between each segment, adding depth and interest to an already cool story Also, Mitchell changes his writing style to match whichever story he s doing.Pumpkin Standing up with a gun All right, everybody be cool, this is a robbery Honey Bunny Any of you f pricks move, and I ll execute every mother last one of ya


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Cloud Atlas download Cloud Atlas, read online Cloud Atlas, kindle ebook Cloud Atlas, Cloud Atlas 9bbb1a479e7b 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, Haruki Murakami, And Philip K Dick The Result Is Brilliantly Original Fiction As Profund As It Is Playful Now In His New Novel, David Mitchell Explores With Daring Artistry Fundamental Questions Of Reality And Identity Cloud Atlas Begins In With Adam Ewing, An American Notary Voyaging From The Chatham Isles To His Home In California Along The Way, Ewing Is Befriended By A Physician, Dr Goose, Who Begins To Treat Him For A Rare Species Of Brain Parasite Abruptly, The Action Jumps To Belgium In , Where Robert Frobisher, A Disinherited Bisexual Composer, Contrives His Way Into The Household Of An Infirm Maestro Who Has A Beguiling Wife And A Nubile Daughter From There We Jump To The West Coast In The S And A Troubled Reporter Named Luisa Rey, Who Stumbles Upon A Web Of Corporate Greed And Murder That Threatens To Claim Her Life And Onward, With Dazzling Virtuosity, To An Inglorious Present Day England To A Korean Superstate Of The Near Future Where Neocapitalism Has Run Amok And, Finally, To A Postapocalyptic Iron Age Hawaii In The Last Days Of HistoryBut The Story Doesn T End Even There The Narrative Then Boomerangs Back Through Centuries And Space, Returning By The Same Route, In Reverse, To Its Starting Point Along The Way, Mitchell Reveals How His Disparate Characters Connect, How Their Fates Intertwine, And How Their Souls Drift Across Time Like Clouds Across The SkyAs Wild As A Videogame, As Mysterious As A Zen Koan, Cloud Atlas Is An Unforgettable Tour De Force That, Like Its Incomparable Author, Has Transcended Its Cult Classic Status To Become A Worldwide Phenomenon