Cloud Atlas Readalong: It Begins

Thursday, March 1, 2012


The readalong of Cloud Atlas, which I'm hosting with Care's Online Book Club, officially begins today. The first post will be up on March 17th. There's still plenty of time to join in.

Here's the book summary from Publisher's Weekly:

"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 other’s echoes down the corridor of history, and their destinies are changed in ways great and small.

At once audacious, dazzling, pretentious and infuriating, Mitchell's third novel weaves history, science, suspense, humor and pathos through six separate but loosely related narratives. Like Mitchell's previous works, Ghostwritten and number9dream (which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize), this latest foray relies on a kaleidoscopic plot structure that showcases the author's stylistic virtuosity. Each of the narratives is set in a different time and place, each is written in a different prose style, each is broken off mid-action and brought to conclusion in the second half of the book. Mitchell's ability to throw his voice may remind some readers of David Foster Wallace, though the intermittent hollowness of his ventriloquism frustrates. Still, readers who enjoy the "novel as puzzle" will find much to savor in this original and occasionally very entertaining work."

Here's the schedule.

MARCH 17: Read pages 1-236 and post your thoughts or join in our discussion at Care's blog.

APRIL 2: Read pages 237-509 and discuss your thoughts here at my blog.


I'm officially intrigued. I can't wait to discuss it with you all.

Also, Cloud Atlas is being made into a movie with Tom Hanks. Here's an interesting article about it.

15 comments:

Care said...

I've read 4 pages already. I thought I would have more time today but the school is short of subs so I might get pulled to do full on class instruction subbing rather than sit and make them work while I read subbing.

Kristi said...

I'm excited to get started! One piece of advice--from what I remember, the first forty pages are kind of rough to get through, but if you push past, it gets easier.

Ellen said...

So excited to give this one another shot! I think I made it about 30 pages in last time, before being distracted by...well, other books.

For those of us reading the ebook version, could you mention what chapter or section the second half of the reading begins with? Thanks!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Care - Ha, I didn't know you were a sub. I got a little bit further. Push through the first section, it's slow going, but picks up quickly in the second.

Kristi - I'm so glad you said that. I'm past that section now, but it wasn't an easy start. It got so much better in the second section.

***So everyone should push through the beginning and keep going!

Ellen - Of course, read until you reach the section called "Sloosha's Crossin' An' Ev'rythin' After"

Care said...

I just only had 5 minutes before I left for school! That's only reason I got 4 pages in. :)

annieb said...

I am glad it gets better as it goes along. I am close to 40 pages and thinking that it probably isn't for me, but you give me hope so I will keep pushing through.

Carrie K. said...

I made it to page 17 today. The language in this first section is a bit... odd. But, I'll keep pushing on!

Ellen said...

Thanks, Melissa!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

annieb - I hope you keep going! I didn't like the first 40 or so either, but once I got into the second section I started to really enjoy it.

Carrie K. - Keep going! I really wish he hadn't started with that section. It definitely gets better!

Lu @ Regular Rumination said...

I've been on the fence about joining this one, but I need a push to read this book and this might just be what I need. I think I'll join in!

A Damned Conjuror said...

I've had Cloud Atlas staring at me for ages. I loved Ghostwritten so might have to join this readalong

softdrink said...

I'm on page 26. The best thing I can say is that it put me to sleep for two hours, so I got a great nap out of today's reading.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Lu - I love joining readalongs when I need some motivation to get to a book. Glad you're joining!

A Damned Conjuror - You should! I haven't read Ghostwritten yet.

softdrink - Ha, I didn't like the beginning either. It gets much better after the first section!

Cori said...

I'm in! Hooray!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Cori - Yay! Can't wait to hear your thoughts.