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Cloud Atlas

In My Book Club Books on December 26, 2012 at 9:40 pm

December 2012 Book Club Selection


Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

Blurb from The New Yorker:

Mitchell’s virtuosic novel presents six narratives that evoke an array of genres, from Melvillean high-seas drama to California noir and dystopian fantasy. There is a naïve clerk on a nineteenth-century Polynesian voyage; an aspiring composer who insinuates himself into the home of a syphilitic genius; a journalist investigating a nuclear plant; a publisher with a dangerous best-seller on his hands; and a cloned human being created for slave labor. These five stories are bisected and arranged around a sixth, the oral history of a post-apocalyptic island, which forms the heart of the novel. Only after this do the second halves of the stories fall into place, pulling the novel’s themes into focus: the ease with which one group enslaves another, and the constant rewriting of the past by those who control the present. Against such forces, Mitchell’s characters reveal a quiet tenacity. When the clerk is told that his life amounts to “no more than one drop in a limitless ocean,” he asks, “Yet what is any ocean but a multitude of drops?”

My thoughts: This book is not for passive readers who are looking for a mindless beach read. I found it very confusing at first. I just couldn’t figure out where the author was going. My fellow book club ladies encouraged me to just push through it, assuring me that it would make sense eventually. Within the different narratives, there were some characters that caught my attention and held my interest. I liked the second and fourth parts, set in 1930s Belgium and present-day Britain, respectively, and would enjoy reading them on their own. However, as a whole, the parts just didn’t come together in a satisfying way for me. I don’t think this book is for me, but one day I may pick it and try again.

Atlas Cloud Dinner Menu

Hosted by Joni and includes six small dishes to represent the six stories, served cafeteria style inspired by the futuristic cafeteria

Cloud 9 Martini

Sweet Onion Crostini

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

Onion Dip

Mediteranean Quinoa Salad

Asian Ginger Plum Chicken Lettuce Wrap

Strawberry and Chocolate Mousse Parfait

cloud atlas

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