Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

It took me about half a year, but I finally finished reading Cloud Atlas. Now, it didn’t take me half a year to read this book because it was boring or slow. I actually really enjoyed it. Life just got in the way and became way too busy for me to actually have time to sit and read it.

After I saw the movie, I was very curious to read the book because I needed to see how it was written. The movie jumped around from character to character and time period to time period showing how events were connected, and I was intrigued to know how David Mitchell wrote such a book. I will say that, while the book also jumps from characters and time periods, it is done so in a more fluid way.

Each time period is broken up into two parts. We start with The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing, and I do admit that this chapter alone took me at least a month to read through. I found the section to be a bit dry and had trouble concentrating on it. However, as soon as I got to the next section, Letters from Zedelghem, I got pulled in much more and had a harder time putting the book down. Next, we delve into Half-Lives: The First Luisa Rey Mystery, followed by The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish, then An Orison of Sonmi~451 before reaching the middle with Sloosha’s Crossin’ an’ Everythin’ After. From there the book goes back down the list, ending with part II of The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing. Although it’s probably best to read the book cover to cover, I feel each section could also be read separately, which would come in handy if you’re like me and run out of time for reading everyday. As I got to the second half of the book there was a lot I had to recall from memory on where I last left off with each character.

What I really enjoyed about this novel was that it really went hand-in-hand with the movie. The movie stuck to the novel and, I feel, is a great companion to really see how all the characters are intertwined, even though they are from different time periods and have all lived different lives.

Cloud Atlas is definitely an intriguing story, making the reading think about whether it really is possible that we all are connected in some way. David Mitchell is an excellent writer in that he doesn’t preach anything, but leaves the overall story up for interpretation to the reader, as well as open-ended.

Grade: A+

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