Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Cloud Atlas - the genius of David Mitchell

Cloud Atlas – in the hands of genius, David Mitchell.

Firstly, if you love reading – read this book!
If you love thinking – read this book!
If you love writing – read this book!

Actually, if you’re in the latter group, maybe think again. You know when you can sing, a bit, fairly well, then you hear someone (like the lasses in Lady Maisery) who can really sing, and you think, mmm, maybe I should shut up? Well, Mitchell could be the person who makes you put your pen down forever.

But wait – OR, he could be the genius rule breaker that inspires you to believe in yourself and your own voice so much that you continue to dare.

I am in awe. Truly. And that’s not an easy thing to get from me. I am astounded at the man’s mind – the expanse of his imagination, and philosophy and intuition and profound understanding of humanity, and beyond. I imagine the wall chart he drew while planning this book – which has to be in concentric circles, while he flicks arrows across timelines for the links and delicious clues. (Well that’s how I would do it).

I don’t want to do spoilers –but the Sonmi-451 chapter is a scary gem of foresight into where we might all go. What makes it work is the wonderfully economic language born of text- speak and monopolies where cars are now only referred to as fords, and everyone has a handsony, and the chip from your bank card is now in your fingertip.

Okay, so I am deeply jealous of someone who can so apparently easily write the completely engaging and time-specific dialogue and language of the 1800s, the 1970s and 2025 or something and still make me reach for my dictionary. And the nerve to cut a story off – mid sentence – really!

But the real beauty of this work is that his people are real. Their dilemmas are real and I laughed with them, and cried for them. I had to stop and re-read so many passages out of sheer love. I finished it last night. I re-read the ending this morning. Where did he get the inspiration for such a perfect last line?

If that all sounds too much, visit Ghostwritten first. Beautiful work, but maybe less of a mind-f**, said with respect, that will draw you in to his expansive world.

I haven’t been able to write a thing while I was reading it – but now I’m done, I’m bursting. That makes Mitchell a friend.