Cloud Atlas

Author: janesix ,

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  • janesix
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    With Cloud Atlas being my current favorite movie, I decided to read the book. I can't get into it and I am having to force myself into reading it, and I'm only 15 or so pages in. It is nearly unbearably boring, I don't understand half of it, and I want to quit reading it. 

    Has anyone read this book, and does it get any better? I don't want to waste my precious time that could be better spent playing a new Skyrim character for the 50th time.
  • seldiora
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    "Cloud Atlas had positive reviews from most critics, who felt that it managed to successfully interweave its six stories. The BBC's Keily Oakes said that although the structure of the book could be challenging for readers, "David Mitchell has taken six wildly different stories ... and melded them into one fantastic and complex work."[4] Kirkus Reviews called the book "sheer storytelling brilliance."[5] Laura Miller of The New York Times compared it to the "perfect crossword puzzle," in that it was challenging to read but still fun.[6] The Observer's Hephzibah Anderson called the novel "exhilarating" and commented positively on the links between all six stories.[7] Author and Booker Prize winner A. S. Byatt in a review for The Guardian wrote that it gives "a complete narrative pleasure that is rare."[8] The Washington Post's Jeff Turrentine called it a "highly satisfying, and unusually thoughtful, addition to the expanding 'puzzle book' genre."[9] In its "Books Briefly Noted" section, The New Yorker called the novel "virtuosic."[10] Marxist literary critic Fredric Jameson viewed the novel as a new, science fiction-inflected variation on the historical novel now "defined by its relation to future fully as much as to past."[11] Richard Murphy said in the Review of Contemporary Fiction that Mitchell had taken core values from his previous novels and built upon them.[12]
    Criticism focused on the book's failure to meet its lofty goals. F&SF reviewer Robert K. J. Killheffer praised Mitchell's "talent and inventiveness and willingness to adopt any mode or voice that furthers his ends," but noted that "for all its pleasures, Cloud Atlas falls short of revolutionary."[13] The Daily Telegraph gave the novel a mixed review, focusing on its clashing themes, with Theo Tait noting: "In short, Cloud Atlas spends half its time wanting to be The Simpsons and the other half the Bible."[14]"
    -- Wikipedia

68 days later

  • coal
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    --> @janesix
    Mitchell assumes a very high educational level for his audience.  The movie makes clear a lot of the connections that, if you aren't carefully paying attention to every word of the book, you'll miss.  

    It's my favorite book of all time.  But the investment doesn't start to really pay off until you're about halfway through the book.  Take your time with it and re-read chapters.  Really think about what is happening and try to picture it in your mind. 
  • janesix
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    Well I m certainly not highly educated. I am a high school drop out. That being said though, I have a certain ability to make connections through intuition. I am a generalist as opposed to being a specialist in anything. Horizontal and not vertical. I do intend to finish this book, simply because it's my favorite movie. The things I like about this movie are the first layer, the obvious reincarnation theme, then there are the more subtle layers, like the whole George slaying the dragon aspect (and how it's not the dragon you have to slay, but George(which is the self, the ego). Then there is the enlightenment thing, with the main guy starting out as a total douchebag, then progressively becoming a better person throughout his incarnations. nd going offworld at the end, showing he made it to enlightenment (rising above the Earth. I'm sure there are a ton of things I missed, and I've watched it five times or so. You can give me hints, but don't spoil it for me! lol
  • coal
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    A couple of things to consider: 

    There are some characters who are abnormally highly educated in very niche things, like knowledge of Nietzsche.  To the point that one character will be quoting Nietzsche almost word-for-word from the original German, and the book doesn't acknowledge it.  In one of the editions, Mitchell acknowledges this in the forward.

    The audiobook is, I think, easier to follow than some of the chapters.  When Zachry is talking, for example, it's easier to follow if you're hearing it rather than reading it.  

    But yes, the character arc of Dr. Henry Goose's soul, as it is reincarnated through the hotel manager, Isaac Sachs, Dermot Hoggins, and finally Zachry is pretty incredible.