At my desk at work are several books I recently bought for the long Metro commute home. All four are nonfiction books, similar in theme, a continuation from books I’ve recently [or are currently] read such as Gideon’s Spies: The Secret History of the Mossad, a historical piece about Mossad, Israel’s remix of the CIA.
But while at the airport on the way back from a business trip to Utah, I saw at one of the bookstores Cloud Atlas: A Novel and couldn’t resist getting it. The trailer for the movie looks amazing, but there’s no doubt, as always, the book is better.
So far I’m five chapters in and have to fight the urge to continue reading when I have other things I need to be doing, like eating, sleeping and bathing. It took a minute, though. The first chapter is littered with words that you have to look up. It’s as if author David Mitchell was using a 150-year-old thesaurus to add some color to the writing. The first chapter ends literally mid-sentence. I almost wanted to go back to Utah to ask for a refund for a book missing a page, but in chapter two you realize not only was this intentional, it pulls you into the entire book’s style even more.
Each of the chapters happens at a completely different moment in time and tells completely different story lines, yet each one of the story lines captures your attention, stories that could stand on their own. Then somehow Mitchell adds a little something to connect the story lines.
I’m almost at the halfway point where the books starts to close out the unfinished story lines and weaves a thread between all the story lines, all the characters, all the different moments in time spanning 600 some years and somehow, I have no idea how, everything is supposed to come full circle.
I’ll admit, I almost put the book down as I struggled through the first chapter. When the story line changed the first time I again considered putting it down. By the third chapter the book’s writing style starting to make some sense but yet a third story line with more characters was trying me. But by time I got to the fifth chapter, I eagerly await how this thing ends.