22 May 2014

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchel

Cloud Atlas -- 4Stars

I wasn't so sure what to think of this novel when I first started reading. The book is broken into six different parts, none of which seem to be connected to the next. Once you start to really get into it, all the different narratives are indeed linked in the most incredible ways!

We see our past in the forms of a journal circa 1850, letters from 1931, and novella from 1975. Aspects of our past as humans that we would rather forget. Slavery, war, nuclear "mistakes".

Our present is taken up by an old man with the most ghastly luck. Our future is a bit jarring. Slavery returns in ways that we wouldn't expect as well as its savage roots.

All in all, the theme is "Freedom". We all want to be free, to make our own choices, but when that is taken away, we become prisoner to someone else and their ideas, their forces.

I know this is going to take a while to get into, but really its quite a lovely read, full of depth and interest.


  1. Dear Quill and Ink:

    Will you please consider reviewing my new novel DON’T FORGET ME, BRO, to be published later this year by Stephen F. Austin State University Press (Texas Book Consortium)?

    DON’T FORGET ME, BRO deals with themes of childhood abuse, mental illness, and alienated families. (See synopsis below.)

    My award-winning debut novel THE NIGHT I FREED JOHN BROWN (Philomel Books, Penguin Group, 2009) won The Paterson Prize for Books for Young Readers (Grades 7-12) and was one of ten books recommended by USA TODAY. For more info: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/john-michael-cummings/the-night-i-freed-john-brown/

    In addition I've published a collection of short stories, UGLY TO START WITH (West Virginia University Press) Here’s a link to some information about my collection: http://www.amazon.com/Ugly-Start-With-Michael-Cummings/dp/193597808X

    My short stories have appeared in more than seventy-five literary journals, including The Iowa Review, North American Review, The Kenyon Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and The Chattahoochee Review. Twice I have been nominated for The Pushcart Prize. My short story "The Scratchboard Project" received an honorable mention in The Best American Short Stories 2007.

    I look forward to hearing back from you.

    My email is johnmcummings@aol.com

    Thank you very much.


    John Michael Cummings

    P.S. Could you kindly give me a reply back to let me know you received this email?

    Synopsis of DON’T FORGET ME, BRO

    DON’T FORGET ME, BRO deals with themes of childhood abuse, mental illness, and alienated families. The book opens with the main character, forty-two-year-old Mark Barr, who has returned home from New York to West Virginia after eleven years for his older brother Steve’s funeral. Steve, having died of a heart attack at forty-five, was mentally ill most of his adult life, though Mark has always questioned what was "mentally ill" and what was the result of their father’s verbal and physical abuse during their childhood.

    The book unfolds into an odyssey for Mark to discover love for his brother posthumously in a loveless family.

    DON’T FORGET ME, BRO is a portrait of an oldest brother’s supposed mental illness and unfulfilled life, as well as a redeeming tale of a youngest brother’s alienation from his family and his guilt for abandoning them.

    - end -

  2. If your publicist/publisher sends me a copy, I'll read and review it.