Cloud Atlas (Paperback)
August 2012 Indie Next List
“This is perhaps the most ambitious, complex, and brilliant novel I have ever read. Mitchell takes six completely different storylines, written in six distinct genre styles -- from pulp mystery novel to pidgin English-laden sci-fi -- set in six completely different time periods ranging from the 1800s South Pacific to far into a post-apocalyptic future, and chops them up and blends them to form one seamless, intricate, awe-inspiring saga of humanity. When your copy seemingly ends mid-sentence on page 39, please trust me and keep reading!”
— Seth Marko, UCSD Bookstore, La Jolla, CA
By the "New York Times "bestselling author of "The Bone Clocks "- Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize
A postmodern visionary and one of the leading voices in twenty-first-century fiction, David Mitchell combines flat-out adventure, a Nabokovian love of puzzles, a keen eye for character, and a taste for mind-bending, philosophical and scientific speculation in the tradition of Umberto Eco, Haruki Murakami, and Philip K. Dick. The result is brilliantly original fiction as profound as it is playful. In this groundbreaking novel, an influential favorite among a new generation of writers, Mitchell explores with daring artistry fundamental questions of reality and identity.
"Cloud Atlas" begins in 1850 with Adam Ewing, an American notary voyaging from the Chatham Isles to his home in California. Along the way, Ewing is befriended by a physician, Dr. Goose, who begins to treat him for a rare species of brain parasite. . . . Abruptly, the action jumps to Belgium in 1931, where Robert Frobisher, a disinherited bisexual composer, contrives his way into the household of an infirm maestro who has a beguiling wife and a nubile daughter. . . . From there we jump to the West Coast in the 1970s and a troubled reporter named Luisa Rey, who stumbles upon a web of corporate greed and murder that threatens to claim her life. . . . And onward, with dazzling virtuosity, to an inglorious present-day England; to a Korean superstate of the near future where neocapitalism has run amok; and, finally, to a postapocalyptic Iron Age Hawaii in the last days of history.
But the story doesn't end even there. The narrative then boomerangs back through centuries and space, returning by the same route, in reverse, to its starting point. Along the way, Mitchell reveals how his disparate characters connect, how their fates intertwine, and how their souls drift across time like clouds across the sky.
As wild as a videogame, as mysterious as a Zen koan, "Cloud Atlas" is an unforgettable tour de force that, like its incomparable author, has transcended its cult classic status to become a worldwide phenomenon.
About the Author
David Mitchell is the award-winning and bestselling author of The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, Black Swan Green, Cloud Atlas, Number9Dream, and Ghostwritten. Twice shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Mitchell was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time in 2007. With KA Yoshida, Mitchell co-translated from the Japanese the international bestselling memoir The Reason I Jump. He lives in Ireland with his wife and two children.
“Cloud Atlas is, obviously, a formidable creation. . . . Fellow novelists will find it hard not to heap . . . praise on David Mitchell, whose brilliance takes one’s breath away in a manner not unlike a first experience of Chartres or the Duomo.”
—The Globe and Mail
“Cloud Atlas is a head rush, both action-packed and chillingly ruminative.”
“Mitchell’s range is astonishing, moving effortlessly from elegant genre fiction to satire to high-end literary pyrotechnics….to Mitchell — prodigiously skilled and gloriously ambitious — I can only say, bravo!”
“Cloud Atlas imposes a dizzying series of milieus, characters and conflicts upon us . . . [and] feels like a doggedly expert gloss on various writers and modes.”
—The New York Times
“Audacious, dazzling…. Readers who enjoy the 'novel as puzzle' will find much to savor in this original and occasionally very entertaining work.”
“The novel as series of nested dolls or Chinese boxes, a puzzle-book, and yet — not just dazzling, amusing or clever but heartbreaking and passionate, too. I’ve never read anything quite like it, and I’m grateful to have lived, for a while, in all its many worlds, which are all one world, which is, in turn, enchanted by Mitchell’s spell-caster prose, our own.”
Advance UK reviews for Cloud Atlas:
"the third novel from the genre-busting David Mitchell, author of Ghostwritten and the Booker-shortlisted Number9Dream is a remarkable book, made up of six resonating strands; the narrative reaches back into the 19th century, to colonialism and savagery in the Pacific islands, and forwards into a dark future, beyond the collapse of civilisation. It knits together science fiction, political thriller and historical pastiche with musical virtuosity and linguistic exuberance: there won't be a bigger, bolder novel next year."
—Justine Jordan, Guardian, Preview of 2004
"David Mitchell is by no means a complete unknown, but I shall be very surprised if his next book, the sprawling and ambitious Cloud Atlas doesn't propel him into the front rank of novelists. I only wish it had been there for this year's Man Booker judges to consider."
—D J Taylor, Independent, Preview of 2004
"A daunting talent, adept with the global canvas, and able to move from the technological to the spiritual with supernatural ease."
—Suzi Feay, Independent on Sunday, Preview of 2004
"Watch out for Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, a work of free-wheeling fantasy by a cutting-edge writer."
—David Robson, Sunday Telegraph, Preview of 2004
Praise for David Mitchell:
“Mitchell possesses an amazingly copious and eclectic imagination.”
“[Ghostwritten is] one of the best first novels I’ve read for a long time. . . . I couldn’t put it down. . . . And it’s even better the second time.”
—A. S. Byatt
“Mitchell has a gift for fiction’s natural pleasures -- intricate surprises, insidiously woven narratives, ingenious voices.”
—The New York Times Book Review