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East Bay Book Club Message Board › Meeting Recap: May 2012 Contemporary Book Discussion (Cloud Atlas by David M

Meeting Recap: May 2012 Contemporary Book Discussion (Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell)

Group Organizer
Union City, CA
Post #: 37
Whether you're talking about the book by David Mitchell or the 2012 movie adaptation, Cloud Atlas is a story (or rather, collection of stories) that you will either love or hate. Last night's discussion of the book was certainly no exception. Here's a sample of the comments made during the discussion.

What is Cloud Atlas about?
- Good versus evil, plus evolution
- Slavery
- Worshipping money and corporations
- Reincarnation, with main characters knowing about the previous story

Is Cloud Atlas a cautionary tale? A prognostic tale?
- The "corpocracy" notion is certainly cautionary; in fact, it's already happening all over the world, with small businesses being bought by corporations
- Given that the book's publication was in 2004, the book could be prognostic of what's to come
- The system is set up so that the consumer is never satisfied
- Note that two of the stories aren't really about corpocracy, but others said that they're a PRECURSOR to corpocracy
- By the end of the book, good things happen as humans survive one calamity after another
- Remember the last line of the book: "What is an ocean but a multitude of drops?"
- Another recurring theme: the resiliency of the human spirit

Why is Cloud Atlas structured the way it is?
- The author seems to enjoy stories within stories
- It's for the story to come full circle
- Time is cyclical, not linear
- If one person dies, another story continues
- The author probably deals with boredom by switching stories suddenly

Significance of the book's title:
- It comes from a song by Yoko Ono's first husband
- Clouds are an analogy for human souls, traversing space and time

Final thoughts:
- 4 people definitely liked the book, being taken by the book's structure, finding it a fun ride, and providing much to think about
- 4 people definitely disliked the book, calling it tedious, with missing continuity, way overdone and contrived
- A similar number had mixed feelings, recognizing that the author was a show-off who overwrote his book, but the stories were interesting to read

If any of you are interested in the film version, there might be an upcoming meetup for a potluck/film event to eat and watch the Cloud Atlas movie. Stay tuned for details.

Otherwise, onto the next book meeting. :-)
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