book review: cloud atlas

David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas is probably the book I’d heard his name connected to first, years ago. I remember shelving it as a page and remembering people saying it was one of those literary novels that was also science fiction but got to be in the literary fiction ghetto because of his previous work. And I remembered something about a note having to go into editions of the book saying “part one is supposed to end in the middle of a sentence. Don’t worry guys.” And that’s what I knew going in.

And wow. Structurally the thing is beautiful, with 6 stories going forward and then backwards in time. There are echoes of characters and themes and locations all through. Some of these echoes are just descriptors like things being gem-warted. And all of them are about individuals in opposition to great and terrible forces. Each story has connections to the one preceding it and the sense of time and a world that is so important to one individual and how that means so little once you’re dead but that doesn’t mean it’s not meaningful and yeah. Great goddamn book.

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