Posted by: Matt | May 30, 2007

An Atlas of Clouds

I have just over 100 pages left to read in the fairly lengthy Cloud Atlas. And everyone of those page will be spent trying to figure out just what is going on. This is certainly one of the most unique novels I’ve ever read. I knew that as soon as one storyline stopped mid-sentence and I was suddenly thrust 100 years forward in time. That was quite the shock. I was aware the novel is made up of several interconnected stories but never suspected a transition so abrupt.

Despite its strange construction, Cloud Atlas has been a thoroughly entertaining read. It certainly isn’t possible to become bored. Just as the reader becomes comfortable with one character it is time to move on to another. This provides for some excruciating cliffhangers as the reader has to wait as much as 400 pages to reach a resolution. My only fear is that I won’t be able to completely grasp the full story before I run out of pages. As I mentioned, just over 100 pages left and those are passing quickly.

Look for a full review and rating next week, but I will say I’m already thinking about which of David Mitchell’s other novels to read next…



  1. Cloud Atlas is definitely unique- I need to reread it someday. I hope to read number9dream sometime soon, but I’ve just ordered black swan green so we’ll see which one’s first up.

  2. Don’t worry, it will all be clear by the end. I know what you mean about the clifhanger parts!

  3. Tanabata – I’m thinking Black Swan Green will be the next David Mitchell book I read.

    Stefanie – I’m very relieved to hear that it will all become clear, takes some of the pressure off me to figure it all out. 🙂

  4. I’m enjoying this book, too–cliffhangers and all. I’m relieved to hear that it will all become clear, because though I see some connections, it’s not clear yet! I started number9dream, but didn’t finish it–it didn’t grab me, but I enjoyed the Japanese setting. I’d be interested to hear what others think. But I’ve got Black Swan Green next on my Mitchell list.

  5. That sounds like quite a challenge, Matt. I’m looking forward to your comments when you’re all done.

  6. Definitely look forward to the full review. I bought a shiny new copy a few months back but haven’t got around to reading it yet. I’ve heard Murakami fans will like David Mitchell. IHmmmm…’m moving house and haven’t packed it away yet. Do you think it would make good plane reading?

  7. Gentle Reader – I look forward to reading what you think of Cloud Atlas. I just finished it and I think I understand, but I’m still not sure… I might need to have Stefanie explain it to me. 🙂

    Literary Acquisitionist – I’ve just recently added a Murakami book to my TBR list, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. I’m looking forward to reading it. I definitely think Cloud Atlas would be a good plane read! What better book to read while you travel through the clouds?

  8. Thanks for that. After doing a trial pack I’ve realised there’s no way I’m going to be able take a handful of books with me. Looks like it will be Cloud Atlas and one other choice yet to be decided.

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