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Cloud Atlas: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

David Mitchell
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,674 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $8.06
You Save: $6.94 (46%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Now a major motion picture starring Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, and Hugh Grant, and directed by Lana and Andy Wachowski and Tom Tykwer
 
Includes a new Afterword by David Mitchell
 
A postmodern visionary who is also a master of styles and genres, David Mitchell combines flat-out adventure, a Nabokovian love of puzzles, a keen eye for character, and a taste for mind-bending philosophical and scientific speculation in the tradition of Haruki Murakami, 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.

“[David] 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.”—The New York Times Book Review

“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.”—Dave Eggers

 
“Wildly entertaining . . . a head rush, both action-packed and chillingly ruminative.”—People
 
“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.”—Michael Chabon


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Now a major motion picture starring Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, and Hugh Grant, and directed by Lana and Andy Wachowski and Tom Tykwer

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.

“[David] 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.”—The New York Times Book Review

“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.”—Dave Eggers

“Wildly entertaining . . . a head rush, both action-packed and chillingly ruminative.”—People

“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.”—Michael Chabon

From Publishers Weekly

At once audacious, dazzling, pretentious and infuriating, Mitchell's third novel weaves history, science, suspense, humor and pathos through six separate but loosely related narratives. Like Mitchell's previous works, Ghostwritten and number9dream (which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize), this latest foray relies on a kaleidoscopic plot structure that showcases the author's stylistic virtuosity. Each of the narratives is set in a different time and place, each is written in a different prose style, each is broken off mid-action and brought to conclusion in the second half of the book. Among the volume's most engaging story lines is a witty 1930s-era chronicle, via letters, of a young musician's effort to become an amanuensis for a renowned, blind composer and a hilarious account of a modern-day vanity publisher who is institutionalized by a stroke and plans a madcap escape in order to return to his literary empire (such as it is). Mitchell's ability to throw his voice may remind some readers of David Foster Wallace, though the intermittent hollowness of his ventriloquism frustrates. Still, readers who enjoy the "novel as puzzle" will find much to savor in this original and occasionally very entertaining work.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1,791 of 1,832 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book but not for everyone December 18, 2004
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This goes down as one of my favorite books of the year.

Story in a nutshell (without spoilers):

Cloud Atlas consists of 6 [slightly] interlinking stories, told from the viewpoint of 6 different individuals at different points in time. The first story consists of the letters of Adam Ewing, and his fateful trip on a ship in the Pacific in the mid 1850's.

From there we go to the second story, which takes place in the 1930's and is told from the viewpoint of Robert Frobisher, a talented disinherited muscial composer who visits an infirm maestro and his family in an attempt to get work and advantage. His story is told through his letters to a scientist friend/lover named Rufus Sixsmith.

The next story takes place in the 1970's, and has to do with reporter Luisa Rey, and her exposure of corporate malfeasance that could result in disaster. Sixsmith is a scientist there, and plays an important part of the story.

Next, (and my personal favorite), is the story of Timothy Cavendish, in present day England, and the tale of his (mis) adventures as a book publisher. Utterly hilarious and poignant.

The second to last story becomes a sci/fi read of future corporate controlled Korea, complete with cloned humans. And the final story is one that takes place in post apocalyptic Hawaii.

And then we go back to each story, in opposite order, and put the pieces together and complete the cliffhanger endings from the first half.

I think this book is brilliant. I often found myself rereading various sections because I found them so ingenius and profound. I think David Mitchell is one of the most talented new writers around.

My only complaint?
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470 of 497 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A profound page-turner September 25, 2004
By S. Bush
Format:Paperback
Cloud Atlas is a series of six interlocked tales - encompassing a wide array of eras, locales, and genres -in which the protagonist in each story is impacted in some significant manner by the tale told in the preceding section (or the following section, as the book's tales wind out in reverse order in the second half).

So...the stories we tell, and the sense we make of things, have meaning. I'm not sure if Mitchell intended this a straightforward(ish) reincarnation tale, or if the larger theme has something to do with the idea that the stories we tell survive us, perhaps at least partially define what it means to be human, or enable us to retain some vestige of humanity in the face of forces (imperialism, slavery, corportization, or just our own worst impulses) designed to strip that away. The centerpiece of the book does take place in a future world in which civilization has been literally reduced to the ability to remember, and relay that rememberance forward in a sort of verbal folklore.

This is a good, moving, well-written, and entertaining book. One's patience for it is probably dependent on one's degree of exposure to genre fiction - I think someone approaching this from the perspective of classic "literary fiction" might find it off-putting - part of the fun here is the manner in which Mitchell plays with the tropes and cliche of various genres (sci-fi, hardboiled crime fiction, belles lettres, etc) across the six tales. That said, there's lots of "high literary" enjoyment to be had here - the writing is stellar, and there's lots of good thematic linkage (boats, bridges, musical themes, etc.) that add quite a bit of depth.

I would also like to dispel the notion that this is a "difficult" book in the style of David Foster Wallace, Thomas Pynchon, etc.
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373 of 407 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary work September 14, 2006
Format:Paperback
I've just finished this phenomenal book by David Mitchell, a present from a friend who recommended I read it immediately.

So glad I did. It has aspects of the dystopian future scenarios that I so loved in The Handmaid's Tale, Dune, and The Sparrow coupled with recent past and long-past stories. It addresses basic questions of where we are going as a species, following one soul reincarnated through six lives. That soul is on a trajectory that traces the basic human desire for domination, the often-myopic thinking of the powerful, and the fate of the powerless. It is on a grand scale, beautifully told, and quite enthralling.

The structure is what had me hooked to start--it is a mirror of itself. Rough breakdown: The first and twelfth chapters are "The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing," a story of subterfuge, gullibility, and poison on a ship bound from the South Seas to London.

Second and tenth chapters are epistolary, taking place in 1939 through the correspondence of Frobisher--a bit of a cad and scammer--to his friend Sixsmith. Frobisher is a brilliant musician but the family shame, in the process of writing his great masterpiece while apprenticing under a syphilitic genius composer.

Third and ninth chapters follow the efforts of investigative journalist Luisa Rey to uncover serious evil at a soon-to-be opened nuclear facility in the mid-70s. One of her primary sources in the mystery Sixsmith, Frobisher's correspondent from the last chapter, but now 35 years older.

Fourth and eighth chapters are the disturbing and frequently funny tales of Timothy Cavendish, a bumbling, arrogant, failure of a publisher in London during roughly our current times, maybe a little later.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Failed Attempt to be Different
The reading public often loves books that are different. Cloud Atlas consists of six different, nested stories organized in an inventive manner. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Dataman
3.0 out of 5 stars Wish it had been edited
One of the few times I would suggest the movie over the book. Yes, I know that will upset some people. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Jacqueline C. Simonds
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT READ. GOOD MOVIE.
I read the book before the movie and I liked both!
Although, books are ALWAYS more in-depth in story and real-to-life without the FCC or other government decency regulations
Published 7 days ago by J. Moore
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
It's really too bad they tried to make the movie… this novel is an outstanding achievement.
Published 8 days ago by Ryan Essex
2.0 out of 5 stars Almost fascinating but falls a little bit short of. ...
Almost fascinating but falls a little bit short of. Trying to read (or listen) through futuristic dialects is trying and tiring.
Published 8 days ago by Celso Reyes
5.0 out of 5 stars Cloud Atlas is a must-read literary masterpiece
I have to say it's been years since I have felt so engaged reading a book. Oddly, I saw the movie before buying the Kindle book; and in the middle of reading, I decided to watch... Read more
Published 8 days ago by LA
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
I found the book to be too gimmicky, with the mixture of time periods and styles.
Published 10 days ago by DJ
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant as the summer skies!
A Rubix cube of a read! Cloud Atlas presents a fantastic puzzle where the reader is being sucked into six different universes, one even more stunning than the other. Read more
Published 12 days ago by M. Burgers
5.0 out of 5 stars Complex story that slowly builds up (although its is focus ...
Complex story that slowly builds up (although its is focus somewhat different from the movie - which is also an ingenious piece). Read more
Published 12 days ago by Laszlo Meszaros
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Worth every cent!
Published 13 days ago by Serenitynchains
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More About the Author

David Mitchell's first novel, GHOSTWRITTEN, won the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. NUMBER9DREAM, his second, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. In 2003 he was selected as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists and his third novel, CLOUD ATLAS, was shortlisted for 6 awards including the Man Booker Prize and won the British Book Awards Best Literary Fiction and the South Bank Show Literature Prize. He lives in Ireland with his wife and daughter.

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Perfect example of ridiculous e-book pricing by publishers
I totally agree. The fact that the kindle version is $11.99 and I can have them SHIP (free) a PHYSICAL book ($9) is stupid. I understand the reason WHY these prices are like that (can't completely price-out brick & mortars, abandon distributors/physical publishers). Once e-readers begin to... Read More
Sep 5, 2012 by Justin P. Woo |  See all 19 posts
What was corrected in Cloud Atlas correction?
Hmm. I just encountered a logical inconsistency that is troubling me no end... and I'm wondering if in fact this might be something that's been corrected in a new version! Here's my observation:


In the chapter 'Sloosha's Crossin', the opening section describes Zachry's first encounter with... Read More
Nov 8, 2012 by T. Gluck |  See all 3 posts
Kindle version missing part of first story
Just keep reading!

About 1/2 way [maybe 3/4] through chapter 2 it should make sense. Consider it a test. I think many people will find/have found it an unfair artifice. But it's what this book is. Personally, I loved it soooooo much.

Good luck, Alex!
Jan 24, 2012 by mlm |  See all 11 posts
Dissapointing that the publisher is charging 33% MORE for the kindle...
Pure greed at work There is absolutely NO reason for the paperback to be less expensive than the e-book! I will not pay any more than $9.99 for ANY e-book, no matter how badly I want to read it. There's still libraries.
Sep 18, 2012 by B. Bentham |  See all 6 posts
Any stories similar to Cloud Atlas?
Also, Italo Calvino "if on a winter's night a traveler"
Sep 15, 2011 by Helen Selonick |  See all 8 posts
'Godonism' or 'Cloud Atlas?' Be the first to reply
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