Cloud Atlas

  • by David Mitchell
  • Narrated by Tim Pigott-Smith, Charles Collingwood, Jane Collingwood
  • 7 hrs and 17 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, 2004.
Winner of the British Book Awards, Richard and Judy Best Read of the Year, 2005.

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 others' echoes down the corridor of history, and their destinies are changed in ways great and small.In his extraordinary 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.

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What the Critics Say

"David Mitchell has fast established himself as a novelist of considerable authority and power... Anyone who read his remarkable debut, or its successor, number9dream, will instantly recognise the characteristic moves and bold gestures of this amazing extravaganza. His novels have a gleefully kleptomaniac air, moving from the most tawdry thrills to thunderous, visionary spectacle; they are unlike anything else, and you emerge from them dazed, amazed, unsure of the exact nature of the overwhelming experience... a tremendous novel... Cloud Atlas is one of the most shamelessly exciting books imaginable... Mitchell is a novelist who knows exactly what he is doing, and one who is always one or two steps ahead of the reader; and at the end it seems to evaporate like the best dream you ever had." (Philip Hensher, Spectator)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

What a great read!

I loved this book. Its structure is interesting with its interconnecting narratives, and the use of different actors really helps to delineate these clearly. It's so great to read a book that really demonstrates a breadth of imagination and style way beyond anything that I could come up with myself. Luisa Rey a compelling story, Robert Frobisher the most wonderfully flawed cad, Timothy Cavendish's desperate plight hilarious. Sloosha (apologies for spelling, know it must be wrong!) the only one that bemused me, I'll revisit it - certainly easier to grasp in audio than written version.
Anyway, if you like short stories this is a must, as it develops the genre further and tells them in ways which make you think about them long after you have finished reading. Always entertaining, by turns witty, alarming, uplifting, shocking, moving - a great read!
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- Clare

Miscast. Hacked the book to pieces. Read in full.

This abridged version doesn't come close to doing justice to the actual book. The core storyline is there but most of Mitchell's fine writing and nearly all of the subtleties in humour are lost. There are some very talented readers (for Cavendish and Zachry) but others might make you feel uncomfortable; some are poorly cast indeed. If you are truly interested in the story, read the book or wait for the unabridged version-- which might be better done if it was one person reading (not trying to act) throughout. This is an incredible work of fiction and so much of its brilliance lies in Mitchell's way with words. Don't be short-changed by this version that is overly reductive and fails to capture the nuances of a truly great work.
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- Ross

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-07-2006
  • Publisher: Hodder Headline Limited