Over the past year or so, I’ve been in a reading slump. Aside from being busy with everyday life, I haven’t found books that have engaged me the way I need: Pull me in so that I experience total absorption to another time and place, that possess something imaginative and thought-provoking with language that paints pictures and evolves along with the story. However, David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas: A Novel accomplished my current reading requirements.
In Cloud Atlas: A Novel, various time periods connect with each other in subtle and not-so subtle ways. I especially enjoyed how the language changed with each character and reflected his or her culture, customs, and personal circumstances. All of the characters spoke English, but through time words change meaning, new idioms emerge, sentence structure changes, and vocabulary expands, contracts, and expands. This attention to the evolution of language adds to the story in general and adds distinct voices to the characters in each chapter.
It didn’t take long for me to get the hang of reading each chapter and its linguistic changes. I also found that some of the character’s names had meanings that had some connection with the action in the story which provided an additional “hidden puzzle” for me to play around with as I continued to read.
I enjoyed Cloud Atlas: A Novel. It’s one of my favorites now and I highly recommend it.