Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Chapter Chat: Two Cents on Cloud Atlas

It's official. I now belong to a book club. I have mixed feelings about this, especially after reading this (albeit from the Daily Mail).

Anyway, after (nearly) completing Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, I rocked up to talk to a bunch of strangers about the book. Here's what I thought.

4 reasons why this book is worth reading
It's full of variety. It's made up of six stories that are each spun out in two parts (making the book structurally interesting). Each story is set in a different time or era ranging from 1600s to the present day and far into the distant future. 
It's plays on the idea - at least my interpretation of it - that we can never be certain on the real version of the 'truth'. Ideas like this that really make one ponder are also played out in books like Life of Pi, which I have also mentioned in this post
It also gives - again in my opinion - a concise overview of human nature, and toys with the idea that the themes of humanity are universal, regardless of the time or place, and that history cannot help but repeat itself. It's another thought provoking but simultaneously daunting thought. 
This book is rich. If I was to read this book a second time there would be new things like all sorts of subtle links, names, situations, symbolism, and imagery that I would notice and piece together (perhaps I missed so many of these first time round because of my rushed 'I must try and finish this in time for the meetup'...)

4 reasons on the other side of the fence
Personally I wasn't convinced by the 'connectivity' of the six separate stories. Perhaps I was reading too literally, but I felt sometimes the links were tenuous and a little far fetched...
Perhaps it was part of a demonstration on how writing style can convey or reinforce a message, but at times I found the shift between the different narrative styles too jolting. I was just getting into one story when.... bam.
Sometimes I thought the author was trying too hard. Somtimes I prefer a book that just reads itself.
It's rather long...!

All in all, worth reading and it's probably a book I wouldn't have come across if it weren't for reading-en-mass!

Print Book:

Cloud Atlas

Kindle version:

Cloud Atlas for Kindle

*I've also heard that the book was made into a film, which I'm curious to see, but haven't got round to it yet. Has anyone seen it? 

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