Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
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 by David Mitchell
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 civilisation — 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. Randomhouse.com
To illustrate how far and wide this novel travels, here is a video of the upcoming movie.
Book Club Ideas
|One of the symbols throughout the stories is a comet-shaped birthmark. You can use a marker to make your own birthmark.|
Other decoration ideas include soap, the food of the clones, or in a play off the title, cloud decorations.
Cloud Atlas Sextet was written by Robert Frobisher, a friend of Rufus Sixsmith, who was stuck in an elevator with Luisa Rey, who is in a novel read by Timothy Cavendish, who was in a movie watched by Sonmi-451, who was prayed to by Zachry. Whew! Here is a sample of the movie version of the Cloud Atlas Sextet, which will be available October 23.
Book Club Menu
Here are some quotes to provide inspiration for your book club menu for Cloud Atlas:
“I had a double Kilmagoon and the most expensive cigar the bar could muster. Veronica ordered her Drambuie and soda, Mr. Meeks a ginger beer, and Ernie a pint of Angry Bastard bitter. The barman didn’t take his eyes off the TV – he got our drinks by sense of touch alone.” (page 383)
As was so eloquently said by Cavendish: “Lunch was a tepid lamb chop. The potatoes were starch grenades. The canned carrots were revolting because that is their nature.” (page 181)
“We washed down our mutton stew & apple dumpling with small ale brewed by Mr. Evans for trading with whalers.” (page 10) Here is a recipe for a Slow Cooked Stew in which mutton is replaced with lamb (no mutton in my grocery store). You can try adding these Apple Dumplings from Simply-Stews.com.
“Aroma of fresh bread led me to a bakery where a deformed woman with no nose sold me a dozen crescent-moon pastries. Only wanted one but thought she had enough problems.” (page 47) A flavorful crescent pastry to try are these Brie and Jam Crescents.
Here are some other ideas on food to serve at your book club party for Cloud Atlas:
- Recipes from the various settings in the novel, including New Zealand, Belgium, England, California, Hawaii and South Korea.
- Food from the modern day references in the Sonmi story, such as McDonald’s and Starbucks.
Book Club Resources
Ratings at the time this post was published
|Goodreads: 4.18 stars (34,683 ratings)|
|Amazon: 4.2 stars (440 ratings)|
|LibraryThing: 4.21 stars (232 ratings)|
|My Rating: 4.5 stars. This book wowed me with the writing and humored me with its cleverness. The style of each story was so different that it was hard to believe each story was written by the same author, which adds to the genius of the book. It is not light reading, but enjoyable through and through.|
Discussion Questions for Cloud Atlas
- What does “Cloud Atlas” refer to?
- What are the underlying themes that brings all the stories together?
- What is the meaning of the comet-shaped birthmark that reappears throughout the novel?
- Which story did you enjoy most? Which character? Which characters are villains and which are heroes?
- Was there a particular passage that really spoke to you?
- Did you find Zachry’s story difficult to read? Do you think Mitchell’s style of writing in that section was essential to the story?
- One of the lines in the book refers to how every human is both savage and civilized. How does this tie into the theme of the book? How about the quote by Henry Goose “The weak are meat, the strong do eat”?
- David Mitchell’s novels are intertwined with characters from one novel appearing in another. After reading Cloud Atlas, do you plan on reading any of his other novels?
Purchase Cloud Atlas at your favorite bookseller
|Photo by Paul Stewart||David Mitchell’s first novel, Ghostwritten, won the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. Number9Dream, his second, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. In 2003 he was selected as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists and his third novel, Cloud Atlas, was shortlisted for 6 awards including the Man Booker Prize and won the British Book Awards Best Literary Fiction and the South Bank Show Literature Prize. He lives in Ireland with his wife and daughter.|
Other Works by Author
Do you have any other ideas or recipes for a book club party for Cloud Atlas? We would love to have you share them with us! You can leave a comment below and upload pictures as well.
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