This week’s staff pick is Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. Six stories in one that follow the same reincarnated souls through time, this novel is wildly inventive. The first part may seem a bit slow, but once you get to the second story, the novel takes off. A wild, complicated ride that’s well worth the effort, this novel also inspired the movie starring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry. Our staffer highly recommends this, or one of Mitchell’s other works – like The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, a historical novel where once you finish the first part, the story explodes into soap opera worthy drama and high stakes. Psst- The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet would count for your book that takes place in Asia for the Read Harder Challenge.
“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 doesn’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.” Taken from Goodreads.com