Genre: Literary Fiction
Length: 509 pages
Audiobook Length: 19 hours and 48 minutes
First Published: 2004
A postmodern visionary and one of the leading voices in twenty-first-century fiction, David Mitchell combines flat-out adventure, a Nabokovian love of puzzles, a keen eye for character, and a taste for mind-bending, philosophical and scientific speculation in the tradition of Umberto Eco, Haruki Murakami, and Philip K. Dick. The result is brilliantly original fiction as profound as it is playful. In this groundbreaking novel, an influential favorite among a new generation of writers, Mitchell explores with daring artistry fundamental questions of reality and identity.
Cloud Atlas begins in 1850 with Adam Ewing, an American notary voyaging from the Chatham Isles to his home in California. Along the way, Ewing is befriended by a physician, Dr. Goose, who begins to treat him for a rare species of brain parasite. . . . Abruptly, the action jumps to Belgium in 1931, where Robert Frobisher, a disinherited bisexual composer, contrives his way into the household of an infirm maestro who has a beguiling wife and a nubile daughter. . . . From there we jump to the West Coast in the 1970s and a troubled reporter named Luisa Rey, who stumbles upon a web of corporate greed and murder that threatens to claim her life. . . . And onward, with dazzling virtuosity, to an inglorious present-day England; to a Korean superstate of the near future where neocapitalism has run amok; and, finally, to a postapocalyptic Iron Age Hawaii in the last days of history.
But the story doesn’t end even there. The narrative then boomerangs back through centuries and space, returning by the same route, in reverse, to its starting point. Along the way, Mitchell reveals how his disparate characters connect, how their fates intertwine, and how their souls drift across time like clouds across the sky.
As wild as a videogame, as mysterious as a Zen koan, Cloud Atlas is an unforgettable tour de force that, like its incomparable author, has transcended its cult classic status to become a worldwide phenomenon.
Quotes from Title
A half-read book is a half-finished love affair.
My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?
Travel far enough, you meet yourself.
Books don’t offer real escape, but they can stop a mind scratching itself raw.
Our lives are not our own. We are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.
Movie Trailer for Title (2012)
About David Mitchell
David Mitchell is a bestselling author whose works include Cloud Atlas, The Bone Clocks, Slade House, and Utopia Avenue. He also co-translated the memoir The Reason I Jump from Japanese with KA Yoshida. He currently lives in Ireland. Visit the author’s website →