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helenliz

helenliz

Cloud Atlas: A Novel

Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell One of the best books I've read this year.It's a series of 6 short(ish) stories that are interlinked - each book finds the previous one, by some means. However they don't follow in order, the stories are nested. Imagine 6 books open at random pages, all stacked on on top of the other, this book takes that format. So the first story, Ewing's pacific voyage is the first book started and the last to be finished. It's a really inventive way of telling a story and it works. I think it works better than just 6 stories presented in a conventional manner would. I particularly like the way that the second half of each story is introduced at the end of the previous story. It takes some skill as a writer to be able to write 6 very different stories and make them all have a distinct voice. The tales are all told in a journal, letter, aural account form, so it is a very personal telling. The narrators, journal writers and story tellers are all quite convincing and the detail is captivating. The stories have a number of themes, as well as the physical link between them. There's the nature of the rise and fall of civilisation, as well as what is civilisation in the first place, the nature of belief and how that feeds into civilisation - it's telling that in this book belief and civilisation seem to rise and fall in reverse of each other. Then there's the way that they mention the same places again and again, as history criss-crosses the globe. One of those books that will stay with me for sometime after I've finished it.