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Archive for the ‘David Mitchell’ Category

Cloud AtlasCloud Atlas by David Mitchell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very interesting theme. The books is actually six books, and not all of them are very interesting books. They are woven into one through a tenuous link between one to another. What makes it stand out is the fact that the story spans multiple centuries, from the past in to the future.
The first book is from the diary of an American who is sailing back to the US from Australia/New Zealand along with a British doctor. The American wins the confidence of a native who is trying escape his masters. He makes the captain accept the native as a sailor. In the end this native ends up saving his life.
The second story is that of a British musician who runs away from the music school to work with an indisposed Belgian composer and starts living in his grand house. The Belgian composer and his daughter first act in a supercilious manner while his wife starts having an affair with the British musician. The Britisher finds many classic books in the house of which one is the diary of the American in the first book and he sells these for money. He starts reading the diary. The Belgian, realizing the talent of the British musician starts calling music created by the British musician as his own. The Britisher breaks free of Belgian and composes his master piece “The Cloud Atlas” and commits suicide. All through his stay in Belgium the Britisher exchanges letters with his scientist friend who continues to be in the UK.
For the third book the author moves to the US of America, where a big energy corporate is about to start energy production with the help of a Nuclear plant which has been deemed risky by one of the scientist in the panel of scientists behind this plant. This scientist happens to be the British scientist with whom the British musician had been corresponding in the second book. By chance the scientist gets in touch with an journalist and decides to share his report with the journalist whose father happens to be a famous journalist. The scientist is soon killed and an attempt is made on the life of the journalist. This episode appears as a book.
For the fourth book the author moves to England and Scotland where a publisher has published a book about criminal by an author who has lived with them. This author in a fit of rage kills a critic who has criticized his book. As a result the books becomes a big hit and the publisher hits a jackpot. The criminal friends of the author, who is now lodged in a jail, come to claim some of this fortune not knowing that the publisher is struggling to repay his debts. When the criminals threaten his life the publisher runs to his brother who takes this opportunity and sends off this brother of his to a old age home. The publisher reads the book of the journalist taking on the energy corporate. His life is recorded as a movie.
The fifth book is based in future where humans have perfected the art of genomics to the extent that they produce controlled girls who are capable of serving others without questioning and without any protest. They are completely controlled by the ones with true-birth. There is an underground moment to try and free these cloned girls. The experiment starts with two such girls one of whom is unable to withstand the pressure of knowing things not known to the clones. The second one escapes to an university where she becomes a piece with whom a student is expected to experiment. This particular student is a lazy bum who has been copying his thesis from others. The professor who knows the ascension of the clone to human levels and supports her further ascension. The professor is killed and she comes into the care of the protege of the professor. She watches the movie about the publisher in the fourth book. The protege of the professor takes her and shows her how decadent the humans have become and how ruthlessly they dispose of the clones that have reached the end of their helpful life. At the behest of the professor’s student the ascended clone makes a declaration of 12 commandments before being caught and sentenced to her death.
The sixth books is based in even more distant future where the humans have progressed further but at the cost of massive loss of land to contamination where they cannot live any longer. They confined to specific pockets where the land is livable. On one section are the clones who have ascended. They lead a simple but life full of strife not unlike the one we had been living a few centuries ago. The pure blood have advanced enough to have made nuclear fusion a reality. They keep visiting the ascended clones who believe the ascended clone in the earlier story to be their god and follow the doctrines set by her.
The whole book is structured such that all the stories other than the sixth are split into two halves. The first half of the book has the first half all the books from 1 to 5 followed by the sixth book and then the second half of the books follow in the descending order of 5 to 1.
The theme of the book is good, but not all the books are very engaging, especially the one about the publisher.

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