Cloud Atlas

David Mitchell
Cloud Atlas Cover

A Nesting Doll of a Novel


I ended up enjoying this book a lot more than I expected to. Ambitious to say the least, six stories, each set in a different time and place, ranging from 19th century New Zealand to modern-day England to post-apocalyptic Hawaii, all interconnect in different ways to create a tapestry of tales structurally resembling a set of nesting dolls. Each story is written not only in a different narrative style but also ties to the story that follows it. For example, the first story, "The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing," is a book read by the protagonist of the second story, "Letters from Zedelghem." The fourth story, "The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish," is a film watched by the protagonist of the fifth story, "An Orison of Sonmi~451." And so on. Each exists in one form or another to the characters of the other stories. It's an interesting concept and fortunately Mitchell backs up his big idea with quality writing, showing off his skills with each successive tale.