Thursday, January 31, 2013

Book to Big Screen: Cloud Atlas

cloudatlasTitle: Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Publisher: Random House
Pages: 509 pages
Release Date: Aug. 17, 2004
Genre: Science Fiction

Goodreads Summary: A reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan’s California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified “dinery server” on death-row; and Zachry, a young Pacific Islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilization—the narrators of Cloud Atlas hear each other’s echoes down the corridor of history, and their destinies are changed in ways great and small.

In his captivating third novel, David Mitchell erases the boundaries of language, genre and time to offer a meditation on humanity’s dangerous will to power, and where it may lead us.

Cloud Atlas is not type of book that I’m usually interested in reading. However, the movie trailer looked really interesting so when I was offered the opportunity to review the book professionally, I jumped at the chance to see what it was all about. Sadly, it was not the book for me.

Cloud Atlas is a set of six short stories that are interconnected. The stories span several centuries, beginning in the nineteenth century and going to a post apocalyptic future. The stories are told in a non-linear fashion (with the exception of the story in the middle), each stopping at a critical point only to be concluded later in the novel.

Without a doubt, Mitchell is a talented writer. His ability to give the main characters in six separate stories a unique voice while tying them all together is awesome. I found the middle story to be very difficult to read (the characters use a lot of slang) but I understand why Mitchell wrote it the way he did.

As creative as the writing is however, there is a reason that I usually stick to YA novels. I found a few things in the book extremely disturbing such as *spoiler alert, please highlight to read* a young boy being gang raped by adult men, a teenage boy committing suicide because he was continuously raped by men he worked for and humans being slaughtered and their body parts used for food. No way could I have finished this book if I were reading it recreationally.

Also, this book is extremely long and with my issues of deciphering the slang in some of the stories, I felt like this book took me forever to read.

I have not seen the movie version of Cloud Atlas and I’m not sure if I want to. Parts of this book made me feel ill and while I doubt the movie would depict such graphic scenes, I just want to forget the whole thing. Have you read Cloud Atlas or did you see the movie? What are your thoughts on either? Let me know in the comments! 

My Rating: Disappointing

Content: Kissing, heavy violence, heavy gore, heavy profanity, sex, child rape.


KM said...

Huh. That's not why he commits suicide in the movie. In the movie, he's just gay and another guy spurns him and he feels like his career and life are going nowhere etc. etc., so he shoots himself. That's WAY different!

I kinda hated the movie. Not worth seeing IMHO.

Patricia Eimer said...

I didn't enjoy either. I read the book-- didn't like it, thought I'll give the movie a try maybe it will be better. It wasn't.


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