Away for work with no laptop, and so a proper post is impossible at the moment, but I wanted to get down a few thoughts about David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas before I forget (for those counting I only have one Mitchell novel left, which I may save for the day i recognize as the worst day of my life so that I might have something to live for/look forward to. He is so. Brilliant. I like just knowing there is
more of his genius for me to discover. that promise (both the potential and the guarantee) – withheld – makes my life more livable).
I want to remember the form – a mess of genres, narrative points of view and forms. The theme of servitude: to ideals, people, corporations, history (but not love). The idea of ascension – that we (people, characters) might be evolving in a way that keeps us the same even while we strive to be/do better. The idea of reliance, that if we are to make it/survive it will only be after trusting in someone else, knowing we will be betrayed, but in the time before betrayal that we might make/do something great or lasting. That we lose ourselves in moments of beauty – that in reading this book we find ourselves presented with one such moment – a space to forget the petty, insular problems of a particular time and place, and transcend form, genre, and *self* in a way that allows the briefest recognition of beauty. That is what the characters do, and that is what Mitchell offers his readers. And we rely on him to take us somewhere higher then we had been before. And he, unlike his characters, doesn’t betray that faith, but really did leave this reader with a greater expectation for what is beautiful, for what great art can do.