This book has been... interesting for me. I heard it was an odd movie, based on a book, so I picked up the book. When I read the jacket, I discovered I had already read a book by this author, and since I liked his writing, I was mollified.
And then Cloud Atlas happened, and it took me a little while to figure out what was going on. I should have spoiled myself to make it easier.
It’s 6 novellas/stories that take place in an interesting nested structure. These stories were linked, through some sort of reincarnation, themes, and by each being aware of the previous in different ways. It was incredibly interesting, I just couldn’t get into it.
All of the stories take place here (here = Earth), but all through different times. So it’s “us” just not the “now” us.
The first story, the Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing takes place in the distant past, he keeps a journal and this story collides with...
Letters from Zedelghem, which takes place in 1930s Belgium, is presented in the form of letters from Robert Frobisher to his lover Rufus Sixsmith. Frobisher finds Adam Ewing’s journal. And then...
Half-lifes, an elderly Sixsmith, now a nuclear engineer in the 70s helps Luisa Rey, an investigative reporter uncover the truths regarding a new nuclear power plant. She finds Frobisher’s letters and buys the Cloud Atlas Sextet, his only published work.
The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish covers what happens to a publisher, who gets “stuck” in a nursing home, while reading Half-Lives for publication.
An Orison of Somni-451 takes place in the not-so-distant future in Seoul, Korea. This was one of my favorite stories, because it’s very dystopian. Corporations have taken over, and this story is about Somni becomes on of the first fully “ascended” (read: human souled) clones, and what happens. She watches “disneys” including the Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish.
Sloosha’s Crossin’ an’ Ev’rythin’ After happens in the far distant post-apocalyptic future on Hawaii. It’s a very primitive society, trying to survive, and this was probably my least favorite story.
I like the writing, I loved the two dystopian/PA stories. I liked the linkage, but I just could not get attached to any of the characters. Watching the “how”s of the development and crash of society, the butterfly wings causing typhoons is interesting, but sometimes it was like an anvil to the face.
So I want to rate this as an amazing book, but I just didn’t really feel it. I think that this book would probably benefit from multiple readings, but I don’t care enough to reread this one.