Sunday, January 6, 2008

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchel

Over 525 pages. Usually I don’t even buy such a book: too heavy in one's purse, in a hectic life too difficult to keep on reading till the end. But this book got me intrigued, so it began its long voyage in my purse and head. A.S Byatt is one of my favorite authors writes that Cloud Atlas takes you on a roller coaster of overlapping lives and that you won’t want to get off. Mitchel dazzles with his composition, with his linguistic prowess; at times a bit too much of a show off with all too obvious references. Of course I like the ones about writing and about this novel best. Six stories, the eternal return of the same (Nietzsche) and reincarnation in a postapocaliptic world. 4 of the 6 interlinked stories are set in Hawai’i, with themes as the choice between good and evil, escaping the dharma wheel. One of the characters is a composer who composes a sextet for overlapping soloists, which is an apt description for the novel itself. Mitchel pulls it off, not always with reading pleasure. He manages, however, to tie all the loose ends together in a natural way. I must admit that I got annoyed at certain passages, but it was worth while to stay on the roller coaster ride. His references to today’s world are manifold, not only in the language of one of the stories where brand names have become the general word: starbucks, ford, sony, coltfire, kodac, Exxon tank… but also in ‘leaking a report to the Union of Concerned Scientists'… (good organization by the way!) and references to Buddhism.
.Prejudice is permafrost.
.I wondered which ‘I’ he became when he dreamed.
.I asked was Siddhartha a sort of god? ‘A sort of god is an apt description, the Abbess told me. Siddhartha doesn’t bolster our luck, inflict punishment, change the weather or protect us from the pain of life. He did teach about the overcoming of pain, however, and how to earn a higher reincarnation in future lifetimes.
.If consumers are satisfied with their lives at any meaningful level, plutocracy is finished.
. Our sex was joyless, graceless and necessarily improvised; but it was an at of the living.
. Power, time, gravity, love. The forces that really kick ass are all invisible.
. Louisa has never even driven through this district and feels unsettled by the unknowability of cities.

Final judgment on Cloud Atlas is up to you: In his own words: Revolutionary or gimmicky.

1 comment:

  1. Right:a book with more than 500 pages and a blog with more than 40 lines:thats to heavy for one person!