Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
It’s nice to know that even good writers have those moments where they wonder if their opus is Ooslum Bird orPhoenix(as Mitchell does in the second half of Letters from Zedelghem). Of course it’s up to us as readers to decide on that score, and Cloud Atlas will tend to divide. For my part I’d plump forPhoenix.
The admissive ‘tricksy gimmick’ passage is apposite though. You will need to give this book a chance. Thankfully, I find Mitchell’s writing easy to fall into. Even with a patois heavy passage of unfamiliar speech, once the rhythm beds in the characters come to the fore and beckon you on.
As ever with Mitchell it’s a very inventive read and with each passage the ensemble rings true, with language and particularly dialogue adjusted to suit. And there are some inspired passages too. The first allusion (I think it’s the first) to the Atlas of Clouds is as majestic, and fittingly miasmic as a wisp of cumulus.