I’m not one for reincarnation, but I do believe our lives are connected more than we know. This belief, as well as my interest in dystopian literature led me to read Cloud Atlas. I have yet to see the movie, and I am hesitant to, as I don’t know if would live up to my expectations. However, the book is one that will stay with me for a while, and I highly recommend it.
Cloud Atlas is a novel with six interconnected and nested stories. The first is that of a young family man, Adam, traveling home to San Francisco from New Zealand in the 1860’s. His experience is not a pleasant one, and the depictions of slavery (under the guise of missionary work) are rather disheartening. In the book, his is both the first and the last to be told (as each story is split in two). The second is that of Robert, a young musician, with not a penny to his name, finds employment in Belgium before WWII as a composer’s apprentice. I have to be honest and say that I did not pay much attention to this part of the book, as it was slow, and the narrator’s voice was a bit obnoxious. The third story could have been its own novel, as it was compelling, exciting, and made me want to skip the intervening chapters to get to the resolution. It is about a young magazine reporter, Lydia, who is investigating a crime/coverup in the Southern California area that involves a nuclear reactor and a massive government conspiracy.