Friday, February 8, 2013

Cloud Atlas - book not movie review

I must admit to favoring books over movies. Perhaps that's why I write. Still, much as I love imaginative reads I had a hard time with Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (buy at: ). So I had to ask myself why.

Mitchell weaves in four narratives ...alternating and giving each character their say...twice. Each one faces a conflict and they all live in differing time periods, past present or future. The first character is a sailor and used vernacular, which I always hate in a book. But the narrative is solid. The later stories work better for me, though the second character is offensive.

Mitchell touches on large themes. He hits man's ability to both evolve and destroy himself through need. Oppression. Unfairness, bias, corruption, brutality and unfairness. The book does get upsetting and uncomfortable. For me as a reader I sometimes found disengaging those emotions was difficult.

Well written, any reader who can get over those discomforts will be rewarded. Even the vision of the future was upsetting, with some people (clones) slaves while those in power (not clones) were too often corrupt, closed minded and limited. I guess for me this isn't the best book...I'm more of an optimist so Mitchell's view of the world is disturbing. And it generalizes in an insulting way.

I picked up the book after reading an interview with Mitchell in which he commented that of all his books this one seemed the least likely to be a movie..but that was the one Hollywood chose. And I think that choice is the most important thing about the book. Hollywood clearly wants to sell a world view and this book has the desired one.

Any I'm not disparaging Mitchell at all. The book is beautifully and clearly written. He masters creating vastly different world. Mitchell spins a web. Yet it does seem hard to translate to other mediums...but it was... This book is actually an important one...and perhaps that's the other reason it became a film. But it's uncomfortable so not all readers will connect with it. I'm very glad I spent time in Cloud Atlas and did like the book, much as I didn't always agree with the author. But he accomplished his objective.

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