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Book Review: Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell





1. General Opinion: 



Brilliant. Genius. Grand. Three words to define one of the greatest fiction works I've read this year. Amazingly narrated, the author has a distinct capacity to weave his readers with eloquence and yet, deliver messages of sufficient sustenance. The story unfolds in a crescendo-decrescendo fashion 6 stories, of which all are interlinked by at least 1 thread; each story pertaining its own lexicon and mode of narrating, which is not only a wild-most-amusing feat to conquer, but also generates within one whole-book a series of adventures that are restlessly interwoven.

2. Author's writing style:

This detail is perhaps what enthralled me the most from the novel, Cloud Atlas. Narrating 6 distinct stories is not easy, especially if you're threading them with less than 1 membranous filament; add to that feat the fact that each narrative has its own characteristic language, with it's own faults and pearls--as each story is narrated from a first-person's point of view and details are given in correspondence to each individual's capacity to see and appreciate the world. Each narrative has it's own set of exquisite words used throughout the work--splendid. This was, perhaps, what kept me turning page after page--I needed to see how the hell this author managed to weave such a novel, seamlessly. As a writer, I admire this particularity and congratulate the author on such a wonderful project. The undertaking must've been a laborious endeavor, yet very gratifying.

3. Transcending message:

The piece is marvelous at exploiting the weaknesses of man and of his will to power. As David Mitchell mentioned it in some portion of his book, there's some quoting of Nietzsche as the piece progresses. Man's egocentricity is by far the most criticized point of this book. Mitchell gloriously and skillfully portrays how egocentrism deteriorates man and ultimately, fails him as he acts against his fellow mates to attain power, love, wealth, etc. 

I will quote how Mitchell wonderfully portrays man's demise through the search for power and lust for possession:

"The will to power, the backbone of human nature. The threat of violence, the fear of violence, or actual violence, is the instrument of this dreadful will. You can see the will to power in bedrooms, kitchens, factories, unions and the borders of states. Listen to this and remember it. The nation state is merely human nature inflated to monstrous proportions."

Beautifully written. Powerfully expressed.

4. In conclusion:

I cannot say much about the plot--it's so well cross-linked that it's impossible for me to tell you a summary of what goes on in this mind-bending story. As a writer, I have been both entertained and educated by Mitchell's creation, especially from the vast amount of vocabulary I have learnt and in his mind-blasting mode of creating metaphors.

5. The Movie?

Oh, yes, I forgot to mention the movie is coming out soon and that's why I read the book so quickly. As I read it, I wasn't quite sure how this book would be put into one whole piece. It'll be a surprise to see how the directors/actors pull this one off!



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