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Review: Cloud Atlas

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Cloud Atlas Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


It’s beautifully written and if it was a map, a treasure map, to my eyes it would have so many X letters in it.

Though I’ve been avoiding spoilers from the movie and reviews, I knew there was going to be multiple characters with different stories from different period of time. And I think (Sir) David Mitchell has taken it as an opportunity to show his mastership of a true wordsmith through his characters, plots, and the weave and thread that make it as one whole story.

List of things that I remember from Cloud Atlas:

  • This sentence from the first page of the book: “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.”
  • Robert Frobisher character. I watched the movie, right after finishing the book. They change him and his story in the movie (that’s understandable though) but I will always prefer the book version of this young composer. I’m having difficulties to explain why I like this character but if I can take a guess maybe it’s because I want to be like him. I want to write letters (or email/blog ) like the way he did. I want to deal with life like the way he viewed and dealt with whatever life had thrown him. But uhm not that one particular preference of his, mind you. And not definitely that one decision of his.
  • It’s rich. Well, given that it has 6 mini story lines in it, we might expect that. But things can go wrong with author having too many stories in his head. It could be delicious of course, like one of those desserts or meals that has all our favorite stuffs in it. So delicious but unhealthy. Cloud Atlas is delicious and healthy, perfect portion.
  • David Mitchell slips explanation about what this book is about. ┬áHe did a remarkable job at showing part of “show, don’t tell” but he also had an amazing “tell”, a very neat one. Someday if I reread this book I hope I would find another tell. From this first reading I remember a part when Frobisher told Sixsmith about the Cloud Atlas sextet that he was working on.
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.
  • I adore different language styles each main character uses in Cloud Atlas with exception of Timothy Cavendish. Reading his first part revoked me a headache. Even Zachry’s overly-abundant usage of single quote did not offend me as much as Cavendish’s narration haha, don’t know why.

Aaah, it’s one satisfying read. I borrow this book from a friend and will certainly get myself a copy for a reread.


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Written by Elfira Y S

February 23rd, 2014 at 6:24 pm

Posted in my bookshelves