Cloud Atlas: A Novel
by David Mitchell
By the New York Times bestselling author of The Bone ClocksÂ | Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize
A postmodern visionary and one of the leading voices in twenty-first-century fiction, David Mitchell combines flat-out adventure, a Nabokovian love of puzzles, a keen eye for character, and a taste for mind-bending, philosophical and scientific speculation in the tradition of Umberto Eco, Haruki Murakami, and Philip K. Dick. The result is brilliantly original fiction as profound as it is playful. In this groundbreaking novel, an influential favorite among a new generation of writers, Mitchell explores with daring artistry fundamental questions of reality and identity.
Cloud Atlas begins in 1850 with Adam Ewing, an American notary voyaging from the Chatham Isles to his home in California. Along the way, Ewing is befriended by a physician, Dr. Goose, who begins to treat him for a rare species of brain parasite. . . . Abruptly, the action jumps to Belgium in 1931, where Robert Frobisher, a disinherited bisexual composer, contrives his way into the household of an infirm maestro who has a beguiling wife and a nubile daughter. . . . From there we jump to the West Coast in the 1970s and a troubled reporter named Luisa Rey, who stumbles upon a web of corporate greed and murder that threatens to claim her life. . . . And onward, with dazzling virtuosity, to an inglorious present-day England; to a Korean superstate of the near future where neocapitalism has run amok; and, finally, to a postapocalyptic Iron Age Hawaii in the last days of history.
But the story doesnâ€™t end even there. The narrative then boomerangs back through centuries and space, returning by the same route, in reverse, to its starting point. Along the way, Mitchell reveals how his disparate characters connect, how their fates intertwine, and how their souls drift across time like clouds across the sky.
As wild as a videogame, as mysterious as a Zen koan, Cloud Atlas is an unforgettable tour de force that, like its incomparable author, has transcended its cult classic status to become a worldwide phenomenon.
Praise forÂ Cloud Atlas
â€œ[David] Mitchell is, clearly, a genius. He writes as though at the helm of some perpetual dream machine, can evidently do anything, and his ambition is written in magma across this novelâ€™s every page.â€â€”The New York Times Book Review
â€œOne of those how-the-holy-hell-did-he-do-it? modern classics that no doubt isâ€”and should beâ€”read by any student of contemporary literature.â€â€”Dave Eggers
â€œWildly entertaining . . . a head rush, both action-packed and chillingly ruminative.â€â€”People
â€œThe novel as series of nested dolls or Chinese boxes, a puzzle-book, and yetâ€”not just dazzling, amusing, or clever but heartbreaking and passionate, too. Iâ€™ve never read anything quite like it, and Iâ€™m grateful to have lived, for a while, in all its many worlds.â€â€”Michael Chabon
â€œCloud AtlasÂ ought to make [Mitchell] famous on both sides of the Atlantic as a writer whose fearlessness is matched by his talent.â€â€”The Washington Post Book World
â€œThrilling . . . One of the biggest joys inÂ Cloud AtlasÂ is watching Mitchell sashay from genre to genre without a hitch in his dance step.â€â€”Boston Sunday Globe
â€œGrand and elaborate . . . [Mitchell] creates a world and language at once foreign and strange, yet strikingly familiar and intimate.â€â€”Los Angeles Times
From the Hardcover edition.