Saturday, June 29, 2013

Completed: Cloud Atlas


Boy, you were right about this one. What a great book. I have your copy, and it's in good shape since I read this one on my Kindle (thank you, school library overdrive!).

I know it's been a while since you read this, so I'll briefly recap. The structure of this book is fairly amazing: 6 stories, organized like a set of nesting dolls. I read the first section and when it stopped in what felt like mid-sentence, I actually looked up the book on Wikipedia. I was sure that the Kindle version had somehow gone kablooey. It was then that I discovered what I thought would be a major spoiler, but turned out to be okay, which is that as the stories move through time, it is revealed that the current character is reading, watching, or experiencing the previous story in the chain.

Hmm. Hard to know how to talk about this book.

I guess I'll start off by saying that I definitely enjoyed some sections more than others. I don't think it's because of their gender, but I would say that my two favorite sections were those that focused on Louisa Rey and Somni. Although, if I remember correctly, you don't like Hawaii all that much, so maybe that's not too hard for you!).

One of the most impressive things about this novel, I think, was the control the author was able to maintain over the voice of each section. I almost felt a sense of whiplash at the beginning of each new section: who is this person? When is this? What in the hell is going on here? So often, a book contains multiple characters and points of view, and yet it all sounds exactly the same. I thought I would find the structure of the novel annoying, but instead I found myself enjoying the puzzle of the story and wondering how it would all come together in the end.

I'm fairly certain that this book would hold up incredibly well under repeated reading. As it is, I'm sure that I missed some salient details and plot points. And there must be tons of foreshadowing in each section, pointing to what's coming next.

At some point last year, they made a movie of the book! I've heard it's not too great (It's almost impossible for me to imagine how you could even make a movie out of this book!), but I'm still curious to see it. Have you seen the movie?

I feel like this review doesn't quite do the book justice, but it's so complex and layered. What a daunting task.


1 comment:

  1. I can't remember a lot about this book except... I loved it (but I hated the first story). Also, I agree with you -- it demands a re-read. Aaaand... when the movie came out, I said, "WHAAAT?!" I just don't see how it could be done.

    I'm glad that you have my copy of this book -- I looked for it on my shelf a few months ago and was *really* surprised that I would have gotten rid of it. It seemed like a book I would keep, even during my increasingly-more-aggressive purging streaks over the past few years. Next time I see you, I'll get it and re-read it right away! :)

    [Spoiler alert, maybe?]
    I do remember a feeling of... finality? Not quite sure how to describe it, really... as I got to the end of each story in the 2nd half of the book. Kind of a weird feeling, as I still had plenty of book left, but that story was... done! I'm not explaining this well, but it was just a feeling I had when reading it. Did the stories end kind of abruptly on the backside too? (I can't remember -- just trying to recall why I felt that so strongly.)