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January 2, 2013
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Review of “Cloud Atlas” by David Mitchell
“Cloud Atlas” by David Mitchell is my favorite book. Ten minutes after finishing it, I found myself lonely for it, desperate to wear in the binding from chapter one and begin anew. If it were possible to un-know the contents of “Cloud Atlas” and discover them again, I would embark on this journey every year for the rest of my life. The powerful images still flit through my daydreams and nightdreams.
The book takes you on a voyage through six unique sets of overlapping times, spaces, cultures, races, political systems, social orders, religious assumptions. There are six sets of characters as well as differing styles, which the author navigates easily. I loved falling into the historical, the high seas adventure, the science fiction, the elements of noir, the farce, and the comedy. The stories take shape via diaries, calls, letters, reports, interviews, and a tale told around a fire.
My favorite aspect of this book was how it looked into dichotomies (kindness vs. cruelty, enslavement vs. freedom) and various aspects of civilizations. The author opened my eyes to greed, art, history, faith, tradition, love, family, religion, the corrupting and dehumanizing nature of power…yet all while keeping me not only entertained, but hooked! It delved into the minutest of intricacies, but closed on a simple, beautiful theme.
The last lines will leave you sated and bursting with a love of man.
This book is required reading for anyone who aspires to pass through the innocence of childhood and into the realm of adulthood. Take the time to dissect this beautiful gift of a novel and be forever enlightened!
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