Review of Cloud Atlas by David Mitchel

It was time for the WI-Flyers book worms to meet up again at The Prince of Wales on Thursday 15thMay 2019.  This time we discussed Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell – and this was another book that challenged us.  

Cloud Atlas is a series of six “nested” stories across time and space that take the reader from the remote South Pacific in the nineteenth century to a distant post-apocalyptic future.  Each story is interrupted at a pivotal moment and after the sixth story, the second half of the first five are told to bring them to a close.  Each story contains a link – a person or object – that appears in a previous story.  All of the main characters, except one, are reincarnations of the same soul in different bodies, identified by a birthmark. 

We admired David Mitchell’s skill – he has cleverly and convincingly written each of the stories in a totally different style so that you do believe each to be written by a different author.  He has successfully used the format of a 19thCentury diary, an American detective novel, a recorded ‘police’ interview and even a distorted future dialect to differentiate each of the stories and its characters.  

There was no shortage of differing ideas or interpretations of what was going on in the various stories; Cloud Atlas gave us a lot to think and talk about. If you like a book that you continue to think about long after you have finished reading it, then this is one you should try.  

This book was made in to a film, starring Tom Hank and Halle Berry, in 2012 and we are now hoping to get together for a film night so that we can watch the film together and see how it compares to the book.