October 25th, 2012


Book 37

37 CLOUD ATLAS David Mitchell (England, 2004)

Six different main characters, including a classical music composer in 1930s Belgium and a diner waitress in future Korea, seem to have intertwined destinies.

Or have they?

I expected a lot from this novel because the synopsis was extremely intriguing and because it is so acclaimed. However, the more I think about it the more I wonder what it is that the critics and the Man Booker Price jury saw in Cloud Atlas. I kept expecting some grand connection between all those short stories to finally show itself, but it never came, making it one of the most anti-climatic novel I've ever read. What I call anti-climatic is the gap between what was promised, advertised, and the actual content of the book.

And if we are to completely ignore those promises and look at the final work with a more objective eye, we are left with six tedious and pointless short stories that fail to shine on their own just as much as they are unimpressive as a "collection." True, David Mitchell created six distinctive voices, but the tools he used to create them were often more annoying than anything else. For instance, he regularly used different spellings that supposedly reflected the times in which the character lived (past or future.) While this added nothing to the content, it often made the text unnecessarily difficult to read and frustrating, which I found slightly pretentious.

Once again, why is it acclaimed?