Monday, July 12, 2010
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Cloud Atlas is a tour de force. A lengthy "novel" consisting of six novellas that move chronologically from the early 19th century to the distant post-apocalyptic future in the first half of the book, then reverse and run backwards in time in the second half (from p.a. future to 19th century, so we end where we began), and which six novellas are linked with what at first seem to be casual coincidences (the diary chronicling a sea voyage in the first novella becomes a tattered rare book that a young composer in the 1930s finds and reads in the second novella, a piece by the young composer is heard in the third novella), it as ambitious and experimental and daring as it is compellingly and closely written in each of the six wildly-different narratives.