Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
I read The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell and quite liked it, but I am among the few that just didn’t love this book. I do have to admit that I am not really an avid short story fan and this book is basically an assortment of short stories. Each story is in a different time and place but threads from the other stories are woven into each other. There is a common theme of oppression throughout the book. Even though I like to read various genres, the way the book completely switched genres, eras and language really threw me for a loop. I can tell you that by the time I got to the middle of the book, the language used was an extreme chore to read.
“Souls cross ages like clouds cross skies, an’ tho’ a cloud’s shape nor hue nor size don’t stay the same, it’s still a cloud an’ so is a soul. Who can say where the cloud’s blowed from or who the soul’ll be ‘morrow? Only Sonmi the east an’ the west an’ the compass an’ the atlas, yay, only the atlas o’ clouds.”
Once Mitchell reaches the end of the sixth story, he takes up where he left off on the fifth and so on until by the end of the book you are back to finish the first story. That’s great because the first story left off in mid-sentence and I actually thought there were pages of my book missing! I think this was a great structural idea but I never comfortably settled into this book and I couldn’t wait to finish it.