Sunday, September 9, 2012

Cloud Atlas

Cloud Atlas is a novel from 2004 by David Mitchell. I had never heard of it until recently. I just started reading it.


And it's pretty great.

Cloud Atlas is the type of novel where the first chapter or two takes a bit to get underway, kind of like the slow climb at the beginning of a roller coaster. Up, up, up, up, and all the while you can catch glimpses beyond the high hill of track before you, glimpses of corkscrew twists, hard-banked curves and screaming loop-de-loops. You can feel it coming, just past the crest and the swath of blue sky above, and even though it can seem slow at first, that's part of the draw, part of the anticipation as it draws you in, closer and closer and closer, right up to the edge and over.

Then you plunge...

I am really enjoying it.

So, what's it about?

It's difficult to say, really. Partially because I have only just started the book not too long ago, but also because it is an epic and sprawling tale and an odd one too. The structure is a big part of it, as are the different voices. I guess it would be fair to say that it is about how everything is connected. It concerns multiple time lines and multiple settings and the echos of peoples lives reverberating down through time. It takes place on a ship in the Pacific in the 1850s, in Belgium in 1931, in California in 1975, in present day England, in a not so distant cyber-punk future in Korea, and a post apocalyptic Hawaii. And it's all connected. The stories interweave and influence and depend upon each other. But that's not quiet right or quite complete either. There's more.

Remember I did just start it.


How did I stumble across it, you ask?

Well, I was about to dive into House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski (which is also supposed to be pretty amazing) when I first started to hear about Cloud Atlas. It was recommended by a couple of acquaintances and when I said I'd check it out after House of Leaves, most of the responses from people who have read both said "read this one first". So here I am. The reason the book had come up in the first place though was due to the fact that Lana and Andy Wachowski (The Matrix) and Tom Twyker (Run, Lola, Run) have decided to tackle the project and turn what is largely considered to be unfilmable into a big-time, big budget movie, one that looks amazing.

Here's a barrage of imagery.










Crazy and weird and incongruous, right? How does it all link together? Will it work? Honestly, the initial film festival reviews have differed wildly. It seems the film will be a pretty divisive one as no one appears to be ambivalent about it, it's a love it or hate it kind of deal. I've read vehement dismissals which called the film the worst thing ever done in the history of humanity, just as often as I've read that it's the best and most audacious film made by a human being ever. Interesting, interesting, interesting. It all makes me intensely curious.

Aren't you? You should be. That last photo? That's Hugh Grant.

Let's watch the trailer.


Wow, man. Right? Looks amazing. I can't wait. This is one of those films that snuck up on me. Almost no warning, almost no anticipation and then-BOOM-right in my lap and it looks incredible. I really hope it works. I really do. Cloud Atlas hits theatres on October 26th, 2012

Be there or be square,
Jon

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