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.