A postmodern visionary and one of the leading voices in twenty-first-century fiction, David Mitchell combines flat-out adventure, a Nabokovian love of puzzles, a keen eye for character, and a taste for mind-bending, philosophical and scientific speculation in the tradition of Umberto Eco, Haruki Murakami, and Philip K. Read more...
A postmodern visionary and one of the leading voices in twenty-first-century fiction, David Mitchell combines flat-out adventure, a Nabokovian love of puzzles, a keen eye for character, and a taste for mind-bending, philosophical and scientific speculation in the tradition of Umberto Eco, Haruki Murakami, and Philip K. Dick. The result is brilliantly original fiction as profound as it is playful. In this groundbreaking novel, an influential favorite among a new generation of writers, Mitchell explores with daring artistry fundamental questions of reality and identity.
Cloud Atlas begins in 1850 with Adam Ewing, an American notary voyaging from the Chatham Isles to his home in California. Along the way, Ewing is befriended by a physician, Dr. Goose, who begins to treat him for a rare species of brain parasite. . . . Abruptly, the action jumps to Belgium in 1931, where Robert Frobisher, a disinherited bisexual composer, contrives his way into the household of an infirm maestro who has a beguiling wife and a nubile daughter. . . . From there we jump to the West Coast in the 1970s and a troubled reporter named Luisa Rey, who stumbles upon a web of corporate greed and murder that threatens to claim her life. . . . And onward, with dazzling virtuosity, to an inglorious present-day England; to a Korean superstate of the near future where neocapitalism has run amok; and, finally, to a postapocalyptic Iron Age Hawaii in the last days of history.
But the story doesn't end even there. The narrative then boomerangs back through centuries and space, returning by the same route, in reverse, to its starting point. Along the way, Mitchell reveals how his disparate characters connect, how their fates intertwine, and how their souls drift across time like clouds across the sky.
As wild as a videogame, as mysterious as a Zen koan, Cloud Atlas is an unforgettable tour de force that, like its incomparable author, has transcended its cult classic status to become a worldwide phenomenon.
Praise for Cloud Atlas
" David] Mitchell is, clearly, a genius. He writes as though at the helm of some perpetual dream machine, can evidently do anything, and his ambition is written in magma across this novel's every page."--The New York Times Book Review
"One of those how-the-holy-hell-did-he-do-it? modern classics that no doubt is--and should be--read by any student of contemporary literature."--Dave Eggers
"Wildly entertaining . . . a head rush, both action-packed and chillingly ruminative."--People
"The novel as series of nested dolls or Chinese boxes, a puzzle-book, and yet--not just dazzling, amusing, or clever but heartbreaking and passionate, too. I've never read anything quite like it, and I'm grateful to have lived, for a while, in all its many worlds."--Michael Chabon
"Cloud Atlas ought to make Mitchell] famous on both sides of the Atlantic as a writer whose fearlessness is matched by his talent."--The Washington Post Book World
"Thrilling . . . One of the biggest joys in Cloud Atlas is watching Mitchell sashay from genre to genre without a hitch in his dance step."--Boston Sunday Globe
"Grand and elaborate . . . Mitchell] creates a world and language at once foreign and strange, yet strikingly familiar and intimate."--Los Angeles Times
New paperback releases for reading groups
THE BONDS OF FRIENDSHIP
In her enthralling third novel, Falling Together, Marisa de los Santos explores the powerful nature of female friendship. Cat, Pen and Will meet in college, forming a strong bond that lasts throughout their university years. After college, the girls live together until lively, vibrant Cat gets married—a decision that destroys the trio’s special relationship. The friends fall out of touch for six years until an email from Cat summons them to their college reunion. Will and Pen both attend, but Cat’s husband, Jason, shows up instead of Cat, and reveals that she has been missing for weeks. Pen and Will soon embark on a search for Cat—a journey takes them around the world and into uncharted emotional territory. De los Santos is an expert at portraying the interior lives of women. Her latest novel is a sensitively rendered, insightful look at the personal ties that bind us all.
A JOURNEY ACROSS TIME
Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell’s magnificent, century-hopping novel, comes to the big screen this month in a film adaptation featuring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry. Originally published in 2004, the book is now available in a movie tie-in edition. In six intertwined narratives, Mitchell tells an ambitious story about the unexpected connections that link individual lives. The book features a cast of sharply drawn characters, each with his or her own fascinating plotline. Intrepid journalist Luisa Rey goes after sinister dealings at a nuclear power plant in 1970s California. In Belgium in 1931, aspiring musician Robert Frobisher serves as assistant to a famous composer, recounting his adventure-filled tenure in letters to his lover. In a grimly futuristic Hawaii, Zachry leads a life of crude survival after a catastrophe wipes out civilization. By book’s end the threads of the narrative come together like an act of magic. Mitchell, author of the best-selling Black Swan Green, writes about different time periods with ease and authority. This is a challenging yet rewarding novel from a master storyteller.
TOP PICK FOR BOOK CLUBS
In The Odds—his 13th novel—Stewart O’Nan tells the story of Marion and Art Fowler, an out-of-work couple in Cleveland whose lives are falling apart. Facing foreclosure on their home and struggling to keep their marriage afloat, the Fowlers throw caution to the wind one Valentine’s Day weekend and risk everything on a gambling trip to Niagara Falls. For what they envision as a second honeymoon, the Fowlers drain the funds from their savings account and take a bridal suite at a fancy hotel. They enjoy all Niagara Falls has to offer, including its casinos, where they hope to win big. O’Nan captures both the delicate moments and the passionate incidents that make up a marriage. His novel is a compelling examination of the fragility of relationships and the resilience that’s required to sustain them over time.