Customer Reviews for

Cloud Atlas

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

102 out of 116 people found this review helpful.

A Profusion of Allusions

Cloud Atlas is difficult to describe. It is hard to explain what the book is about, precisely. It is a book about what makes a story, and it is a book about what it means to be human. Ultimately, it is a book that forces the reader to question what is reality. It is...
Cloud Atlas is difficult to describe. It is hard to explain what the book is about, precisely. It is a book about what makes a story, and it is a book about what it means to be human. Ultimately, it is a book that forces the reader to question what is reality. It is a postmodern tour de force, laden with literary allusions. For example: Sonmi-451 is a clear reference to Bradbury's classic 'Fahrenheit 451', and her story parallels themes explored in '1984'. Similarly, Zachry's tale of Sloosha's Crossin' is much like Russell Hoban's 'Riddley Walker'. From Frobisher's letters, to Luisa's quest for truth... from Smith's journal and his final question at the end, 'Cloud Atlas' is a brilliant novel that intertwines stories and styles across centuries, continents, and cultures. The stories are relatable and terrifying, and all speak volumes about human nature and its relationship to stories. It is not a novel that you can say is 'about' something, in terms of plot. It's far more thematic. It's about humanity's relationship to one another, to stories, and its quest for truth and the definition of reality. An excellent read that blew me away.

posted by Anonymous on March 25, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

18 out of 37 people found this review helpful.

Mr. Mitchell is too clever for his own good with regards to this book.


"Notice how people insert the "Mr." before sinking the blade in?" (Mitchell, Cloud Atlas, p. 137(ebook)).

I definitely get the sense that the author is clever and very skilled at writing. Unfortunately, Mr. Mitchell is too clever for his own good with regards to th...

"Notice how people insert the "Mr." before sinking the blade in?" (Mitchell, Cloud Atlas, p. 137(ebook)).

I definitely get the sense that the author is clever and very skilled at writing. Unfortunately, Mr. Mitchell is too clever for his own good with regards to this book.

One of the ideas that seems to be brought up by the book is the idea of reincarnation. In each of the six short stories that this book is made up of, one of the character's is marked as connected to the other stories. Quite literally infact, as that character always seems to have a comet shaped birth mark. These characters have vague memories of things that the other marked characters have experienced, like remembering a piece of music or visiting a specific place.

This element of the interweaving stories falls apart for me when in the first half of the fourth story, Mr. Michell effectively decides that the first three stories are fiction. Now don't get me wrong. I don't have problems with having a story within a story. And I know that fictional stories can be based on real things. But if you're going to do that, you need to be very good about making sure we know that's what you're doing. You don't get credit for exploring the idea of reincarnation when you decide that half of those lives never happened in your story's reality. In much the same way that one of Mr. Mitchell's characters calls a girl a dunce for believing Sherlock Holmes was a real person, I'm calling Mr. Mitchell an equal level of dunce for suggesting that people can be reincarnations of people that never existed in reality.

Add to that a plot twist in the fifth story that's so obvious it was done to death seven years before I was born, and the fact that the first and sixth stories are written with such a heavy (though arguably appropriate) dialect as to almost make them unreadable, and I would say I'm sorry I wasted time on this book.

posted by 10068023 on October 8, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2012

    Mr. Mitchell is too clever for his own good with regards to this book.


    "Notice how people insert the "Mr." before sinking the blade in?" (Mitchell, Cloud Atlas, p. 137(ebook)).

    I definitely get the sense that the author is clever and very skilled at writing. Unfortunately, Mr. Mitchell is too clever for his own good with regards to this book.

    One of the ideas that seems to be brought up by the book is the idea of reincarnation. In each of the six short stories that this book is made up of, one of the character's is marked as connected to the other stories. Quite literally infact, as that character always seems to have a comet shaped birth mark. These characters have vague memories of things that the other marked characters have experienced, like remembering a piece of music or visiting a specific place.

    This element of the interweaving stories falls apart for me when in the first half of the fourth story, Mr. Michell effectively decides that the first three stories are fiction. Now don't get me wrong. I don't have problems with having a story within a story. And I know that fictional stories can be based on real things. But if you're going to do that, you need to be very good about making sure we know that's what you're doing. You don't get credit for exploring the idea of reincarnation when you decide that half of those lives never happened in your story's reality. In much the same way that one of Mr. Mitchell's characters calls a girl a dunce for believing Sherlock Holmes was a real person, I'm calling Mr. Mitchell an equal level of dunce for suggesting that people can be reincarnations of people that never existed in reality.

    Add to that a plot twist in the fifth story that's so obvious it was done to death seven years before I was born, and the fact that the first and sixth stories are written with such a heavy (though arguably appropriate) dialect as to almost make them unreadable, and I would say I'm sorry I wasted time on this book.

    18 out of 37 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2012

    Totally Missed

    I always finish a book. That said, I had to let this one go. It made absolutely no sense, and was so boring I could not stay awake while reading it. I decided no matter what the ending was, it was not worth all the agony to get there!

    17 out of 42 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2012

    Awful book. Totally confusing.

    Don't bother reading this mess of a book. I'm sure there's a message in there somewhere--or the author thinks there is, but it's buried in dialects and language that are almost impossible to decipher. How anyone could have read this book and thought it would make a good movie is beyond me. I love to read an d always finish any book I start, but this was a struggle. Did not enjoy it. Felt it was a total waste of my time.

    8 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 3, 2012

    Couldn't finish it.

    I really regret paying the 12 bucks for this and i am considering calling B&N and asking for a refund or some sort of credit. this books is absolute crap and it looks like the movie is going to be crap too. It made no sense and could not finish it. I tried my best. got 30 pages in and said screw it.

    7 out of 33 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 29, 2012

    Not worth the effort

    i am an avid reader and when this book was selected by my book club I was excited to read "the book of the year". What a terrible disappointment! It was hard to get into and just when I did it would switch stories. I started to like it and wham, it started over. I made it to the end and just felt like I wasted a lot of time that could have been spent reading something good.

    5 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2012

    forced myself to read

    read the first 2 chapters and the last 2. the middle of the book is written strangely and I did not get the significance. was not for me.

    4 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2012

    What the f

    I am so confused. Anyone else read this? This book makes me feel dumb.

    2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2008

    stifling bore

    This was the worst book I ever read. It amazes me that anyone would say they liked it. Boring and makes no sense.

    2 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2013

    Not for Android or Apple

    It's a Nook book for Nooks only. I have an Android with the Nook app but it won't load. Customer service says that is as intended. Bought from "that other store" instead. Sad, prefer the nook reader

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2013

    A big mess of nothing

    Did not bother to finish it. Wasted my time on it enough already.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2013

    Ebook Version.

    I bought the ebook version and it is the most unreliable book I've ever bought in my life. I need to read this for class and half of the days this book turns into a sample, and half it is actually the real book. This does not help me because when I need it for class it decides to be a sample of about 30 pages.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 27, 2013

    I hated reading this book. The stories were completely unrelate

    I hated reading this book. The stories were completely unrelated. I did find some interesting but they were so diffiicult to get into and since they were broken up it was hard to pick up the pieces between them. The language in some of the stories was inaccessible or overly self important. I did not like most of the characters and had no investment in them. The plot (in this case I use the term loosely) of the book never came together. I kept expecting that it would build into something but that never happened. I found this an overrated book with an author that seemed to relish in making his readers feel stupid. I have to say I stopped when there was only 70 pages left of the book. After getting 3/4 through a book, I would almost never stop reading, but I just could not waste another minute of my time and this rubbish.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2013

    Yo

    Yo

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2013

    ????

    Absolutely obtuse.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2012

    The writer did not bring the book to closure. The stories were

    The writer did not bring the book to closure. The stories were loosely brought together and failed to have any meaning at the end. The social commentary in the last section seemed to be a reach for credibility. The book did not meet the expectations of being fictional stories, however, had it kept to a more "standard" Sci Fi with the Sonmi-451 it would have been better. The marketing for the movie made me want to read the book. The positive part of this is, now I do not want to see the movie. Maybe the author was trying to a Vonnegut but missed the mark.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2012

    I planned to see the movie, but I wanted to read the book first.

    I planned to see the movie, but I wanted to read the book first. I FINALLY finished it, out of sheer determination. I'm an avid reader, and I couldn't stay awake through this book. I won't be wasting my money on the movie.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2012

    Don't waste your time

    Went and saw the movie and came out totally confused so thought I'd read the book and get things sorted out.

    With the book, the movie made a little more sense, but to be honest I'm not sure why they made this book into a movie.

    Unless you just want to read something that has minimal literary worth, at best, don't waste your time OR money on this one.

    That's my 2 cents.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2012

    HEY

    CLOUDCLAN IS A REAL CLAN. I MISS THEM. DONT WRITE STUPID STORIES ABOUT REAL CLANS THAT DIED OUT!

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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