Book review

Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell

You can read an extract, here.

I’ve just finished reading Cloud Atlas, and wanted to write a review about how amazing it is, but it’s difficult to do that while avoiding spoilers, and I really don’t want to ruin the reading experience of anyone who hasn’t read it yet, so I’ll be careful…

Experience is the word to describe this novel. Due to its structure, I was drawn in, and enjoyed being involved in figuring our how the characters, and their stories, were linked.

The novel comprises six stories, which are arranged in a Russian Doll formation, and each written in a different style. The six stories are then linked through characters, events, and metafictional/intertextual references to each other. I love metafiction and intertextuality, and am experimenting in my own writing, so it was interesting to see how Mitchell used different techniques in each story.

Certain words (including people and place names), images, and ideas are repeated throughout the six stories – this is what I found fascinating, more so than the actual stories or potential overall arc; there are so many ways to interpret the meanings of these repetitions, and having looked at some wiki fan pages, I see there are lots of theories out there.

Some people refer to the novel as being ‘challenging’, but it’s only challenging in the sense of being experimental, and therefore not everyone’s cup of tea. Personally, I loved being involved in the story, and coming to my own conclusions. I would recommended Cloud Atlas to anyone who wants to explore the use of structure or experimental nature of this novel.

3 thoughts on “Book review

  1. I really enjoyed Cloud Atlas. I was actually surprised (and a bit pleased) with how unchallenging I found it. I was a bit intimidating in advance, but found it much easier to read than I was expecting. I found the links satisfying also. It’s still the only book of his I’ve read though.


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