Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell's best-selling Man Booker Prize-shortlisted novel which was also one of Richard & Judy's 100 Books of the Decade, has now been adapted for film. The major motion picture, directed by Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer, and Andy Wachowski, stars Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, Jim Sturgess, Ben Whishaw, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Doona Bae, James D'Arcy, Zhou Xun, Keith David, and Hugh Grant.
The novel features six characters in interlocking stories, each interrupting the one before it: a reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan's California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified dinery server on death row; and Zachry, a young Pacific islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilisation.
The narrators of Cloud Atlas hear one another's echoes down the corridor of history and their destinies are changed in ways great and small.
Mitchell's other novels are Ghostwritten, Number9Dream, Black Swan Green and The Thousand Autums of Jacob de Zoet, all published by Sceptre.
©2005 David Mitchell (P)2007 RNIB Publishing
I loved the book when it first came out in print and have been looking out for an unabridged version on audible ever since. The movie may be bonkers (not necessarily bad for that) but don't let that put you off. I know some readers found the hard to get into, but I reckon it's a lot easier with the audible version so, if you have doubts initially, do stick with it. Connections between the different narratives can seem somewhat tenuous, but each is rewarding in its own right. I had forgotten how funny parts of it are (now brought to life by excellent narration), and how unsettling elements set in the future can feel. Overall, a great listen, strongly recommended.
To start with I was very confused with what the story was about, but after Jacob de Zoet I was determined to persist. This is the book which has to be listened to with full concentration. After being completely drawn into this incredible yarn of past, present and future, with fantastic readers' voices I found myself postponing jobs and in the end bought the book to listen with the text! I went through each of three parts a few times to savour well written prose and it is sure I will be returning to this listen again and again. I must add that with just a text I would struggle at the beginning.
I love reading but never have time, I noticed i wasted time commuting to work, I found audible and have been a happy chappy since.
This took me by surprise. I had seen the kerfuffle around the movie, but got to the book first, and still haven't seen the film, (but want to!). I had no idea what to expect, this being my first David Mitchell book, and initially the first story of the Notary seems dull, and strangely forced in its language. I thought this was bad narration, but then into the next story, and the next the depth increased and the initial story became a necessarily dull bedrock onto which everything else was built, indeed, its strange quality is remarked upon within other stories. This technique of nested stories was new to me, and i enjoyed it a lot.
The story of a post apocalyptic, post apocalyptic future human interacting with the remnants of the previous civilization, exploring the remains of the civilization before that was a fulfilling moment, and this in the same book as an amazing story of Mr Cavendish, a publisher trapped in an old peoples home by mistake(?!) how these two stories ended up side by side i have no idea, and this juxtaposition is fabulous.
The narration is key in this novel, it actually adds to the story hugely given the different times, sexes of characters, cultural queues etc. Fantastic job, get through the first chapter to see the genius unfolding.
A couple of the sections were enjoyable (the young composer and the vanity publisher, at least up to the point where the latter ends up in an old folks' home) but most was really rather dull. I kept going, hoping that I'd eventually "get it" and start enjoying it, but it didn't happen. I gave up at the end of the second part (of three). If I'd been reading the book, I'd have given up way earlier than that. I kept losing concentration and having to rewind to where my brain had tuned out, and that's not a good sign.
Regarding the audio version:
1. Shoot the first narrator. Flat, boring voice, and noticeable pauses before unfamiliar or foreign words.
2. Why do an electronic voice for the interrogator in the Sonmi section? She was a replicant (clone) and yet had a human voice where the person questioning her did not.
I'd heard good things about Cloud Atlas, but was disappointed. I'll be avoiding David Mitchell's stuff in future.
I want to listen to this again and again and again. It spans decades and lifetimes and its underlying message is just as big. Very powerful. I will definitely listen to it more than once.
This book or at least parts of it haunt me still, I found the future especially thought provoking, It is not the genre I usually read but I am so glad I bought it. I have yet to see the movie although I do not think the characters will be who they are in my head. I found the different readers for each story within the story great, Each bringing the individual alive and real. I will certainly look at other David Mitchell titles.
It took a little while to get into but once I got into the first story, it was absolutely unputdownable. I couldn't wait to get back to it. There are a number of different story lines across different ages linked together tenously.... they could have been completely stand alone stories but are held together by the idea that what we do has consequences. I also loved the way that different readers read each character thereby giving them unique voices as well as variety to my listening. Brilliant book that I am sure I will read again.
This book apparently has 6 narrators. However, the only relevant one is the first, because he's so awful that for the first time ever I have abandoned an audio book. He pauses audibly in random places in sentences, I'm guessing at the ends of lines in his script. He pauses audibly before unusual words, which he then invariably mispronounces. He doesn't pause when sentence structure demands it. He shuffles papers audibly. His voice is utterly monotonous.
He sounds like he has done no preparation whatsoever for the job. I regularly read aloud to my children, and I can confidently say that that experience alone means I would do a better job myself.
I tried to tell myself that the other 5 narrators would no doubt be up to the expected standard, but after just over an hour there was no way I could force myself to continue. I will be returning this title.
Typically time shifting, story intertwining and interconnecting story telling. Some wonderfully time defining language used. A very good book.
However, in the Audio book the Narration is adequate at best but often poor. You get the impression the recording is the first time the Narrators have read the book through, especially the first section. Jerky, amateur and frankly spoils the story irrepairably.
I live in shrewsbury, England, of Scottish birth. I love time shift and fantasy novels with a human flavour.
I found this book strangely disappointing. I just couldn't get interested. This is unusual for me!
I'm afraid I couldn't recommend this book to a friend
There are no listener reviews for this title yet.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.