This week’s recommendation is Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. They did make a movie about four years ago that I enjoyed, but left many people who hadn’t read the book a little confused. It’s a fusion of six stories in one that are linked together in various ways despite occurring at different times across a few hundred years.
Update (making this an actual recommendation):
Okay, so this book is not for everyone because of the multiple story-lines going on and the vague ways they all happen to relate to each other. David Mitchell once said in an interview that he is a fake author because he doesn’t write books, but instead writes novelettes that he fuses together to make a book. Though a fairly accurate self-examination, I give him the rank of full-author because he deserves it. Yeah, many of his books are split among several characters that often don’t influence or cross each others paths, but they are all compelling and continue the overall story that takes place.
Cloud Atlas is my favorite story that I’ve read by David Mitchell so far. His prose is great and often reveals amazing lines. Lines that are quotable to say the least. I first recommended this book because, like I said, I really enjoyed it and loved the intricacies of the woven stories. Of the six, the first takes place in the mid 1800’s, the second in the 1930’s, the third in the 1970’s, the fourth in the 2000’s, the fifth is around the 2200’s (if memory serves me right, it’s futuristic Neo-Tokyo), and the last is post-apocalyptic and undated (but I imagine it’s well before the 3000’s).
Each story centers around one character that has their own individual story, but their stories bleed into the next in ways that are fun to discover. The structure of the book is also different and may possibly bother some readers. It is split so you read the first half of each story in a pyramidal structure. So, you read the first story (which stops mid-sentence halfway through), then read the first half of the second story, and so on until you get to the sixth. You read the sixth story all the way through, then you continue and read the second half of the fifth story, then the second half of the fourth, and so on until you eventually finish with the second half of the first story.
Like I said, it’s a strange structure, but it is compelling because of the way each story links to the others. I hope this may have peaked your interested a bit more than my original, short recommendation.