Every now and then you come across a book that takes you for a thrill ride with the centre-stage characters performing extraordinary tasks and meanwhile exhibiting inhumane calmness. These books binds their stories together with sudden but exciting happenings which make the reader want to finish them in one go.
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell is no such book. You may not be able to finish it in a couple of days but you’ll definitely keep its memory in your mind for a long time. The story revolves around one character at a time living in different timelines ranging from the under-developed seventeen hundreds to the post- apocalyptic world. Although the message is simple: development of the human race and its needs may lead to considerable destruction of the world we live in and also the world as we see it yet this is not the story which one would want to materialize by bringing out the morale. All characters in the novel are linked by a comet shaped scar on their shoulder blades and through one means or the other, are aware of their previous incarnation and their life stories.
David Mitchell has romanced with the copybook ideals of novel writing but only in his other books. In this one, he has not stuck to one emotion. The theme of the plot is different for each character and each one of them somehow manages to lead to another. I love the way he breaks the story chain of one character and eases on to the next. We’ve all seenmovies like Bable and Crash in which various stories are inter-twined but this one flows like a waterfall from one part to the other and then at the middle reverses its flow.
This is a book that you’ve all glanced through in book shelves of random book stores but never given a consideration to. I dared to pick up this weirdly described, absurdly written novel and happened to love it. Cloud Atlas, I have to say is an astonishing, unconventional yet brave attempt on a revolutionary style of writing.