“Cloud Atlas” by David Mitchell


Holy cats, people, why didn’t anyone tell me how awesome David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas was?

Oh, right, everyone did, including my husband. He doesn’t urge books on me often, thus he gets really annoyed when I put him off. Cloud Atlas I put off because it’s over 500 pages and looked dense and intimidating. Imagine my surprise when I tore through it in less than a week, a busy week at that. It’s the kind of book that makes me resent anything and everything that makes me put it down

There are five novellas that stop mid-story on cliffhangers, with a sixth one in the middle before returning in reverse order to the previous five, taking up where each left off. I could begin to detail the many connections and overlaps, but I’d be here all day. I have a whole list of sites to visit to nerdishly obsess over this book once I get various deadlines met. I don’t nerdishly obsess over just any books, you know. If you, like me, have started it before and put it down pick it back up, and keep going. Once you get going, it’s hard to stop.

The novellas are written in different styles, with different but overlapping characters. This book is clever, thoughtful, intelligent, and a great, great read. Which means I’ll want to go back and read everything he’s written, because apparently all his books together overlap, just like this novel.

Oh, this is going to be a fun ride. And Cloud Atlas has earned a spot on our “books we like so much we own multiple copies” shelf. Because we are obsessive nerds.

7 Responses to ““Cloud Atlas” by David Mitchell”

  1. carolyn Says:

    and now he’s got a new book out, perfect timing

  2. girldetective Says:

    It was this article about Mitchell’s new book, Bone Clocks,


    that spurred me to finally pick up (and subsequently not want to put down) Cloud Atlas. My husband and I are going to attempt the Cloud Atlas movie tonight. I expect it to be an interesting failure.

  3. Kristen Oshyn Says:

    Movie is an incredibly painful failure in my experience: worse than disappointing.

  4. girldetective Says:

    Kristen, my husband and I watched the movie the other night, figuring it would be a failure but probably an interesting one, and did find it so, though more failure than interesting in the last hour of three, plus really didn’t like Hanks playing the younger version of Zachry–should’ve been a boy.

    Then we watched all the extras the next night, which included interviews with the directors and David Mitchell and the actors, and I found those more interesting than the film itself, especially since they included so many clips from the film.

    My recommendation is to borrow the DVD from the library, and watch all the extras, then if you want, watch the movie.

  5. Kristen Oshyn Says:

    Good advice — I didn’t have a chance to watch the extras … I would be curious to hear what David Mitchell thought of the adaptation. I remember reading an interview with him in the New York Times and in that he commented on how surprised he was that Hollywood had chosen Cloud Atlas, of all of his works, to turn into a movie.

  6. girldetective Says:

    Mitchell said on the extras that he was impressed, and he was in some of the interviews with the directors, and was shown on set, so it looks like he was an involved collaborator. Everyone in the extras–directors, actors, Mitchell, others–expressed amazement that this movie had gotten the funding and go-ahead to get made, and all expressed being thankful to have been a part of such a unique movie making experience.

  7. Janet Says:

    I got Cloud Atlas from the library on your recommendation. I have to finish a couple of other titles first, but looking forward to it!