Review: Cloud Atlas

Posted 22 April, 2020 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Cloud Atlas
By: David Mitchell
Format/Source: Hardback; my purchase

Souls cross ages like clouds cross skies . . .

Six interlocking lives – one amazing adventure. In a narrative that circles the globe and reaches from the 19th century to a post-apocalyptic future, Cloud Atlas erases the boundaries of time, genre and language to offer an enthralling vision of humanity’s will to power, and where it will lead us.

So I watched the movie first before I read the book (posted my thoughts on the movie last week) but the book has long been on my wish-to-read list. Watching the movie prompted me to finally pick up the book so here we are 🙂

Like anything, the movie did colour my reading of the book; Ben Whishaw was perfectly cast as Frobisher in my opinion, I can’t help but hear his voice narrating his story in the book, it’s quite lovely. And I admit the book did help me understand the futuristic storyline with Zachry’s storyline but reading the language–as cool as it was to perceive how language changed by then–can be a bit of a chore at times, oops (reminded me of reading Paul Kingsnorth’s The Wake).

Clearly the book is a lot more detailed, intricate, and nuanced compared to the movie. The movie caught the main gist of the storylines, but the book had a lot more going on, for example how Frobisher became so ingrained in Ayrs’ family, and the revelation regarding the larger struggle between the government and the Union rebels in Sonmi’s story. I have to say Sonmi’s story–which was probably my favourite in the book–was far more nuanced, her road to emancipation and her interactions between and amongst humans far more expansive–good and bad–and the issues in that society is much more complicated than what the movie portrayed. I have to say though, I was a wee bit disapointed that the theme of love wasn’t as prominent here compared to the movie but graned the book was tackling a whole range of issus and themes and that love is merely one facet in the whole of human experience.

Overall I’m glad I finally read the book, it was very interesting and 6 different stories and genres in one volume that’s all interconnected. I reckon I’ll need to read it again to catch more of the nuances and angles, but otherwise it’s definitely been one of my favourite reads so far this year 🙂

Rating: ★★★★☆

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