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Winner of Best Read of the Year and the Literary Fiction Award at the British Book Awards 2005. David Mitchell entices his readers on to a rollercoaster, and at first they wonder if they want to get off. Then - at least in my case - they can't bear the journey to end. Like Scheherazade, and like serialised Victorian novels and modern soaps, he ends his episodes on cliffhangers and missed heartbeats. But unlike these, he starts his next tale in another place, in another time, in another vocabulary, and expects us to go through it all again. Trust the tale. He reaches a cumulative ending of all of them, and then finishes them all individually, giving a complete narrative pleasure that is rare. A 2011 World Book Night selection.
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Cloud Atlas has been made into a film with a luminary cast including Tom Hanks, Halle Berry and Jim Broadbent. CLOUD ATLAS will be released in cinemas across the UK on 22nd February 2013 and you can see a trailer of it below.
David Mitchell entices his readers on to a rollercoaster, and at first they wonder if they want to get off. Then - at least in my case - they can't bear the journey to end. Like Scheherazade, and like serialised Victorian novels and modern soaps, he ends his episodes on cliffhangers and missed heartbeats. But unlike these, he starts his next tale in another place, in another time, in another vocabulary, and expects us to go through it all again. Trust the tale. He reaches a cumulative ending of all of them, and then finishes them all individually, giving a complete narrative pleasure that is rare.
The first tale is about a 19th-century American lawyer, Adam Ewing, crossing the Pacific in 1850, meeting Maoris and missionaries, a seedy English physician and some nasty sailors. The second is about a young British composer in 1931, who cons a dying genius into taking him on as an amanuensis, and then makes love to his wife and daughter. This narrator, Robert Frobisher, composes the Cloud Atlas Sextet "for overlapping soloists" on piano, clarinet, cello, flute, oboe and violin, "each in its own language of key, scale and colour". Frobisher's tale is told in a series of letters to his lover, Rufus Sixsmith, who later appears as a nuclear scientist in Reagan's California in the 1970s. This Californian thriller is the tale of Luisa Rey, a journalist who uncovers a corporate nuclear scandal and is at constant risk of assassination. The fourth voice is Timothy Cavendish, a 1980s London vanity publisher, trapped in an old people's home near Hull. The fifth is the pre-execution testimony of Sonmi-451, a cloned slave in some future state, who has acquired intelligence and vision. The sixth, and central one, is the storytelling voice of Zachry, a tribesman after the fall of the civilised world, who is back in the Pacific islands where the linear narrative began. The novel opens with one ship - the Prophetess - and ends with another ship that contains the survivors of Civ'lise, the Prescients.
'A remarkable book ... there won't be a bigger, bolder novel this year.'
'An impeccable dance of genres ... an elegiac, radiant festival of prescience, meditation and entertainment.'
Independant on Sunday
'His wildest ride yet ... a singular achievement, from an author of extraordinary ambition and skill'
About the Author
Publication date1st March 2004
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