Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell – A Book Review

I’m not going to lie to you, this book took a tremendous amount of effort and, while reading it, I hated almost the entire thing.  I say this as an avid reader and an outspoken lover of literature.  My favorite authors are Chabon, Proulx, Auster, and McCarthy, so it’s not like I’m unaccustomed to challenging reads.

But then something miraculous happened … After I finished the book, I started to like it more and more.  It’s almost like how exercise stinks while you’re doing it, but when you see the end result, you love it.

I can’t explain the book.  I just can’t.  It spans centuries, there are six different storylines that brush against each other, Mitchell splits up the six storylines into two different sections strategically placed within the larger context of the novel, he plays with language and sentence structure to the point it’s nearly incomprehensible … just read it.  Or don’t.

I read this book for two reasons.  The first, and strongest, was pride.  The smartest guy I work with read it and loved it and challenged me to read it … how could I say no?  The second reason, and you book lovers will relate, I wanted to experience it before the movie came out and altered my perceptions of the characters and settings.  I managed to get it read right before the movie came out, but it’s taken me this long to work up the nerve to try to review it.

Maybe I should have listened to my instincts and resisted that urge.

Okay, try to focus, Scott.  The book is difficult but ultimately rewarding.  It is not a page turner, but it will join your essence after having completed it.  You will be confused much of the time, but through thought you will appreciate it all the more.

On a side note, I still haven’t seen the movie, but I bought the soundtrack and it is excellent.  I listen to it all the time as I write.  It gets my creative juices going.

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2 thoughts on “Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell – A Book Review

  1. I recently gave up on ‘Cloud Atlas’ after about 200 pages… just didn’t have the willpower to finish it! I appreciate David Mitchell’s ambition but it was just too weird for me!

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