Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell

brianreadsbooks's review against another edition

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challenging slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated


irenealgi's review

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I'll probably come back to this review later, when I'm not as mad as I am now, and might give it three stars if I'm in a good mood. Right now, however, I just almost finished (I decided I'm just not going to bother reading the last passage (thirty pages) in weird old English) Cloud Atlas and I'm kinda pissed because I just wasted a month of my reading time on a pile of intricate words that mean more or less nothing. What is the point of Cloud Atlas? Why have I read Cloud Atlas? What do I get out of it?

Entertainment? Jeez, while some parts where mildly interesting, the language in more than half of the book was painful to read. Like, I don't mind making the effort if it's worth it, but it just wasn't. AND the whole story was cryptic and confusing just for the sake of it, too.

Have I learned something? No. I just haven't. I haven't read much SF in my life, but what I've read is far more superior in terms of thought, philosophy and social criticism.


AND, the link between the stories was weak. Very weak. I don't know in what world that would be an original turn of events. Definitely not in mine.

PS: I forced myself to finish this since it has such great reviews and readers describe it as a life-changing book. Must have missed quite more than thirty pages.

taradoeswriting's review

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Slow beginning, but so worth it in the end. A really heartwarming but also thought-provoking story about humanity. This is another book that will stay with you for the rest of your life.

megapolisomancy's review

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I just spent like an hour typing out all the things that irritated me about this book and goodreads lost it somehow? Fuck you, goodreads.


God damn it. I am literally angry with rage about this.

Ok, fine, it seems appropriate enough for this book to replace that lengthy review with a summary of it where you just have to trust me when I say that the first one was really witty and clever. Or, wait, I'm supposed to be self-deprecating here, right? That's what I learned from Mitchell. To wit, when a character in the second story describes the journal of the first story:

"Something shifty about the journal's authenticity-seems too structured for a genuine diary, and its language doesn't ring quite true-but who would bother forging such a journal, and why?"

Or publisher Timothy Cavendish of the 4th section:

"I disapprove of flashbacks, foreshadowings, and tricksy devices; they belong in the 1980s with M.A.s in postmodernism and chaos theory."

So, instead, um:

Gillan's review, which wasn't half as clever as he thought it was, totally missed the point of this glorious novel, instead giving him yet another chance to flaunt his smugly self-satisfied sense of superiority. Indeed, his insistence that it was nothing more than a collection of tenuously linked and largely forgettable short stories, rather than a novel, shows precisely his lack of appreciation for what he called this "pointless gimmick." His continual namedropping, moreover--of such non-classics as If On a Winter's Night a Traveler, Riddley Walker, House of Leaves, and the collected works of William Gibson, for example--also leaves his readers (if he even has any) uncomfortably aware of his inability to follow the brilliant chameleon-esque prose of David Mitchell, which truly speaks to the Human Condition and certainly never resorts to tricksy devices.

Anyway, to sum up: I thought everything about this book was perfectly mediocre, except the Cavendish and Rey chapters, which I actively loathed. The gimmick, moreover, would have been fine if the stories had any impact on one another to speak of, but... they didn't.

A perfectly irritating end to my engagement with this perfectly irritating book, leaving me with nothing but... meta-irritation? (I'm sorry for that joke, it isn't as good as the one I made in the first review wherein I was complaining about the resolution of the nonsensical Sonmi chapter and which revolved around a pun between plot/conspiracy and plot/narrative. Because in that story they were both nonsensical, and Mitchell used the one to excuse the other... you get it.)

milola's review

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abort. abort. abort.

made it just past the half way point. finally decided i was truly wasting my time.
my apologies to the GoaDies

the date below is the date i gave up on this contrived, ruddy, jumble.

rikajewellee's review

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this author is white and he had the audacity to use the n word on almost every page. i'm disgusted.
also, it was pretentious and boring.

riley_ng15's review against another edition

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Hơi rắc rối nhưng chắc sẽ xem phim để hiểu hơn

robmingione's review

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Mitchell is a very fluid and interesting narrative writer. The format was refreshing, and it was fun to pick up on the all the little clues that carried over from story to story.

c0urtn3yy's review

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I'm actually glad I saw the movie before I started reading the book. I found one story (the 6th one) hard to read because of the writing style (which I'm sure was done extremely well, but I skimmed through most of it -- I was not patient enough to stumble my way through it all). I did, however, enjoy the consistent new characters and hopping back and forth between stories and finding out they're all connected. The 5th story was by far my favorite -- I almost kind of wish there was a separate book for that masterpiece.

chloeprowse's review against another edition

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adventurous challenging mysterious reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


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