Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

Cloud Atlas

Like the other book by Mitchell that I recently read, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, Cloud Atlas was a slow, very slow, read. I’m a fast reader but sometimes books slow me down, like those of David Mitchell.

On the one hand, that’s fine, because I’m reading a good story, but on the other hand, I can’t stand it. To give you some idea, I counted the number of hours it took me to read the second half of this book (the book has 530 pages in total), and came to 8 hours. In other words, the whole book takes 16 hours to read. If I could only read one hour a day, that would take me 2 weeks. Luckily, I had more time!

Notwithstanding my complaint, the book was good, interesting, varied, strange. There are six nested stories, that start in the past (around 1850) and move through time, with the sixth story taking place in a far-away dystopian future. Each main character from a story reads (or sees a film) about the main character from the previous (older) story.

So, in essence there are six separate stories, which are connected indirectly via their main characters. Half-way the book, the time line reverses, and the six stories are continued, one at a time, now from future time into the past.

The stories are all in different formats: there is a diary, a set of letters, an interview, a narrative that is most likely spoken, a detective novel. I found all the stories interesting to read, but the story furthest in the future was sometimes a little hard to follow.

I’m glad I re-read this book, it’s very different from standard novels. A good read, but a slow read.

Extra: See also my review of Black Swan Green by David Mitchell

About Judith
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10 Responses to Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

  1. Nikki-ann says:

    Sounds interesting. I like it when books are different.

  2. Carin B. says:

    Oh it was a re-read for you? I like that it had different formats. Sounds interesting. Congratulations on finishing it. 🙂

  3. seachanges says:

    Leeswammes thanks for popping by – and am impressed you have managed to finish the Cloud Atlas in such a short time! I am taking much much longer – counting days that is, but I sleep and work in between and so only read a couple of hours a day at most 🙂 And then on Sundays I like my Sunday papers, etc… As you know I am a great fan of David Mitchell and have reread both Ghostwritten and Cloud Atlas. My last comments are here:

  4. Pingback: 48 Hour Book Challenge: Finish Line « Leeswammes's Blog

  5. stilettostorytime says:

    I really enjoyed this book when I read it last year and I think what I liked about it most was it’s unusual formula…you never knew what the next story would be about…the setting, character, time, form of writing. I really enjoyed that it kept me guessing but it is a long book and a slower read. However it is one I would re-read!


  6. Another book that I greatly enjoyed. I found the first two sections hard – and slow – going but after that I was thoroughly hooked. I loved spotting all the connections between the stories, like the birthmark.

  7. Pingback: Quick Book Review: Ghostwritten by David Mitchell (DNF) « Leeswammes' Blog

  8. Pingback: Boekrecensie: Tijdmeters door David Mitchell | De Boekblogger

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