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Cloud atlas : a novel

Author: David Mitchell
Publisher: New York : Delacorte Press, [2004]
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : Fiction : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Cloud Atlas consists of six interlinking stories, told from the viewpoint of six different individuals at different points in time. The first story consists of the letters of Adam Ewing, and his fateful trip on a ship in the Pacific in the mid 1850's. From there we go to the second story, which takes place in the 1930's and is told from the viewpoint of Robert Frobisher, a talented disinherited muscial composer who
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Details

Genre/Form: Fantasy fiction
Electronic books
Fiction
Material Type: Document, Fiction, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: David Mitchell
ISBN: 9780307483041 0307483045
OCLC Number: 496269826
Notes: Title from eBook information screen.
Description: 1 online resource.
Responsibility: David Mitchell.

Abstract:

Cloud Atlas consists of six interlinking stories, told from the viewpoint of six different individuals at different points in time. The first story consists of the letters of Adam Ewing, and his fateful trip on a ship in the Pacific in the mid 1850's. From there we go to the second story, which takes place in the 1930's and is told from the viewpoint of Robert Frobisher, a talented disinherited muscial composer who visits an infirm maestro and his family in an attempt to get work and advantage. His story is told through his letters to a scientist friend/lover named Rufus Sixsmith. The next story takes place in the 1970's, and has to do with reporter Luisa Rey, and her exposure of corporate malfeasance that could result in disaster. Sixsmith is a scientist there, and plays an important part of the story. Next, is the story of Timothy Cavendish, in present day England, and the tale of his (mis) adventures as a book publisher. The second to last story becomes a sci/fi read of future corporate controlled Korea, complete with cloned humans. And the final story is one that takes place in post apocalyptic Hawaii. And then we go back to each story, in opposite order, and put the pieces together and complete the cliffhanger endings from the first half.

Mitchell's virtuosic novel presents six narratives that evoke an array of genres, from Melvillean high-seas drama to California noir and dystopian fantasy. There is a naïve clerk on a nineteenth-century Polynesian voyage; an aspiring composer who insinuates himself into the home of a syphilitic genius; a journalist investigating a nuclear plant; a publisher with a dangerous best-seller on his hands; and a cloned human being created for slave labor. These five stories are bisected and arranged around a sixth, the oral history of a post-apocalyptic island, which forms the heart of the novel. Only after this do the second halves of the stories fall into place, pulling the novel's themes into focus: the ease with which one group enslaves another, and the constant rewriting of the past by those who control the present. Against such forces, Mitchell's characters reveal a quiet tenacity. When the clerk is told that his life amounts to "no more than one drop in a limitless ocean," he asks, "Yet what is any ocean but a multitude of drops?"

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