Books

03 December 2014

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell


This would have to be one of the best books I have read in 2014. At 529 pages, it is not a book that can be read in one sitting, but it is a book that is difficult to put down. Mitchell weaves together six totally separate stories from different time periods and different parts of the globe into a whole that stretches beyond place and time.

I found it fascinating how he changes styles, and even language, between the stories: for example, in the first story, set around the mid-nineteenth century, he uses a slightly archaic English, while in the story entitled 'Sloosha's Crossin' an' Ev'rythin' After', he takes the liberty of creating completely new words and ways of expressing them.
 Photo of David Mitchell from www.theguardian.com

His grasp of factual knowledge in the areas forming the basis to his stories: music, the exploration and subjugation of the South Pacific, corporate greed... is admirable, and, as the novel progresses, it can be seen how the totally separate stories merge with each other in subtle ways. At the heart of the novel is the possibility of reincarnation and the idea that life - as a life source - continues, no matter what.

Everything is connected and interchangeable; life and death are part of the same process; nothing is wasted, everything is important. I think that the book can be best summed up in the words of one of the characters, Zachry, who says: 'Who can say where the cloud's blowed from or who the soul'll be tomorrow?' 

In 2012, Cloud Atlas was made into a film by Lana and Andy Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer. Watch the official   trailer.