Fall '12 Reading Group List
“This is perhaps the most ambitious, complex, and brilliant novel I have ever read. Mitchell takes six completely different storylines, written in six distinct genre styles -- from pulp mystery novel to pidgin English-laden sci-fi -- set in six completely different time periods ranging from the 1800s South Pacific to far into a post-apocalyptic future, and chops them up and blends them to form one seamless, intricate, awe-inspiring saga of humanity. When your copy seemingly ends mid-sentence on page 39, please trust me and keep reading!”
— Seth Marko, UCSD Bookstore, La Jolla, CA
A reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan's California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified "dinery server" on death-row; and Zachry, a young Pacific Islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilisation -- the narrators of Cloud Atlas hear each other's echoes down the corridor of history, and their destinies are changed in ways great and small. In his captivating third novel, David Mitchell erases the boundaries of language, genre and time to offer a meditation on humanity's dangerous will to power, and where it may lead us.
About the Author
David Mitchell is the award-winning and bestselling author of The Bone Clocks, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, Black Swan Green, Cloud Atlas, Number9Dream, and Ghostwritten. Twice shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Mitchell was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time in 2007. With KA Yoshida, Mitchell translated from the Japanese the internationally bestselling memoir The Reason I Jump. He lives in Ireland with his wife and two children. From the Hardcover edition.
“Cloud Atlas is, obviously, a formidable creation. . . . Fellow novelists will find it hard not to heap . . . praise on David Mitchell, whose brilliance takes one’s breath away in a manner not unlike a first experience of Chartres or the Duomo.”
—The Globe and Mail
“Cloud Atlas is a head rush, both action-packed and chillingly ruminative.”
“Mitchell’s range is astonishing, moving effortlessly from elegant genre fiction to satire to high-end literary pyrotechnics….to Mitchell — prodigiously skilled and gloriously ambitious — I can only say, bravo!”
“Cloud Atlas imposes a dizzying series of milieus, characters and conflicts upon us . . . [and] feels like a doggedly expert gloss on various writers and modes.”
—The New York Times
“Audacious, dazzling…. Readers who enjoy the 'novel as puzzle' will find much to savor in this original and occasionally very entertaining work.”
“The novel as series of nested dolls or Chinese boxes, a puzzle-book, and yet — not just dazzling, amusing or clever but heartbreaking and passionate, too. I’ve never read anything quite like it, and I’m grateful to have lived, for a while, in all its many worlds, which are all one world, which is, in turn, enchanted by Mitchell’s spell-caster prose, our own.”
Advance UK reviews for Cloud Atlas:
"the third novel from the genre-busting David Mitchell, author of Ghostwritten and the Booker-shortlisted Number9Dream is a remarkable book, made up of six resonating strands; the narrative reaches back into the 19th century, to colonialism and savagery in the Pacific islands, and forwards into a dark future, beyond the collapse of civilisation. It knits together science fiction, political thriller and historical pastiche with musical virtuosity and linguistic exuberance: there won't be a bigger, bolder novel next year."
—Justine Jordan, Guardian, Preview of 2004
"David Mitchell is by no means a complete unknown, but I shall be very surprised if his next book, the sprawling and ambitious Cloud Atlas doesn't propel him into the front rank of novelists. I only wish it had been there for this year's Man Booker judges to consider."
—D J Taylor, Independent, Preview of 2004
"A daunting talent, adept with the global canvas, and able to move from the technological to the spiritual with supernatural ease."
—Suzi Feay, Independent on Sunday, Preview of 2004
"Watch out for Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, a work of free-wheeling fantasy by a cutting-edge writer."
—David Robson, Sunday Telegraph, Preview of 2004
Praise for David Mitchell:
“Mitchell possesses an amazingly copious and eclectic imagination.”
“[Ghostwritten is] one of the best first novels I’ve read for a long time. . . . I couldn’t put it down. . . . And it’s even better the second time.”
—A. S. Byatt
“Mitchell has a gift for fiction’s natural pleasures -- intricate surprises, insidiously woven narratives, ingenious voices.”
—The New York Times Book Review