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