Cloud Atlas

One of the best books I have ever read, David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, comes to the big screen in October. I have no idea whether anyone can convert the complexity of that novel into a two-hour movie, and I worry that people who see the movie will skip the brilliant book. Nevertheless, I hope against hope it will succeed, and I will go see it.

Cloud Atlas, structured like matryoshka dolls, tells six stories, each nestled in the next one. It starts in 1849 on a ship returning from Australia to San Francisco, jumps to the 1930s, then to the 1960s, then to the present, then to a dystopic future, and finally to end times before jumping back again. Mitchell writes in a different genre for each section, demonstrating his mastery of form and word. Influenced by Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel, Mitchell examines the relationship between the conquered and the conquering across history. I guarantee, the novel will haunt you after you finish it. And a rereading just makes it better.


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