Cloud Atlas

Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

This book took me by surprise. There are very few books I deliberately sit down and make myself read. I got over the desire to force myself into "smart" reading after too many years of lit classes. That said, after hearing how brilliant this book was, over and over again, I decided to give it a shot before the movie came out. I'm so glad I did.

The craft of this book is masterful. Which doesn't mean it was easy to read or engage with, but does mean that the more I think about it the more I like it. With the 12345654321 short story structure I felt like I was starting a new book every 40 pages for the first half, which was a challenge. And then the last quarter it was a bit tough remembering back to the stories I had left behind so long ago. Some stories engaged me more than others (I didn't care much for the first nor last in the sequence), but it was so interesting watching Mitchell take on different literary voices with such skill. Even though I had to work at this book, I really appreciated why it was built the way it was - it worked perfectly for the themes of reincarnation, civilization, building & falling apart, and (of course) love & loss. 

Perhaps it is the time when I have chosen to read this, a time when I find myself deeply frustrated by the selfishness that seems to be consuming our culture, but this book really spoke to me.