Cloud Atlas (first published in 2004) is the first of David Mitchell's books that I've read, but it surely won't be the last. I waited a few years (make that 11 years) to read this title because I usually don't jump on the bandwagon of "what's hot." Also, a friend had recently suggested that I do read it because she wanted to watch the movie version again and thought I should know about the story before watching that. I am so thankful that I did read the book not only because David Mitchell has a surprisingly adept talent for creating characters that feel as real as the chair you might be sitting in at any given moment, but also because he knows how to make a story emotionally compelling. From the start of the book, the reader is thrown into a world of sea-sailing merchants and colonizers who are either rapscallions or good-hearted travelers, and then the story advances more than one hundred years into the future where a musician travels the European countryside trying to become a student of the most celebrated composer of the century. Each subsequent section of the book then travels farther into the future until the reader is left gaping at an Earth transformed into a post-apocalyptic wasteland where only the strong survive. Though the future of this Earth might seem grim to some, each character in each time period is able to find their own peace of mind and come to an understanding of the value of human connection. I recommend this book highly because of the way it made me feel and because it made me want to keep reading well past any reasonable bed time.
Recounts the connected stories of people from the past and the distant future, from a nineteenth-century notary and an investigative journalist in the 1970s to a young man who searches for meaning in a post-apocalyptic world.