The Birdcage Archives

Friday 20 August 2010

Cloud Atlas

Hello Gentle Reader

Recently (more precisely about six minutes before i wrote this blog) i had finished my first David Mitchell novel. The novel? His most well known novel: "Cloud Atlas.". "Cloud Atlas," was short listed for the Booker Prize in 2004. One of his other novels "Number9Dream," was also shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2001. His recent novel "The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet," has so far been long listed for the 2010 booker prize. (I would like to buy this book after I make some money. For a few reasons. I do not have a lot of hard cover books. I love the way David Mitchell writes. As well as David Mitchell, has a extraordinary blend of style as well as story telling. Balancing the two out.

"Cloud Atlas," is a rather interesting read. I was well aware that it was six different view points (or stories) connected together, and each one was written in a different style. When i first opened the book, and start reading, I am faced with a "epistolary story (novel)." Of course I roll my eyes, but am not going to be discouraged, and keep reading. I get the through that one. Though while reading it felt like complete agony sometimes, because I truly dislike that kind of writing style. Hoping for something better in the next story (because for the first part this book is like a box of chocolates, your just not sure what you are going to get.) -- will come along i keep reading. Yet again its another "epistolary story (novel)," which makes me grumble. I get through that one as quick as I can.

Next I am in the fast paced, action packed, story of Luisa Rey. I quite enjoyed this one. I found it both fascinating and to be a really fun read. Though after reading it I felt like a dietician who had just went into McDonalds and ate the greasiest amount of food he/she could have. Why you may ask? Because Literary Fiction is not always plot orientated and action packed, and always a fun read. I consider myself a Literary Fiction junkie, and well after treating myself, and feeling good about it -- well I felt kind of guilty (in a pleasurable kind of way). But that does strike a cord with me because, it shows to me that literary fiction doesn't always tell a story but rather is just style, and can be rather boring, and bore the reader into picking up something less better written, but more entertaining. There I think, Literary Fiction has a dilemma. However I still must admit that I enjoyed reading the fast paced, action packed story.

Probably my most favourite story of them all is "The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish." It’s just comedic and backwards, and wrong, and is just a nice read. I enjoyed the fact that the character is stubborn, and head strong. I also enjoy the often off beat sense of humour that pops up in places. It’s not overblown, or exaggerated. It’s just there, to make you have a chuckle, and have a laugh. Which to me is what good comedy is. Laugh after laugh, after laugh, after laugh, is just . . . well boring. A laugh is only good so many times. So this story, of circumstances gone wrong, and the nightmarish hell of a nursing home, and old people gone wild (not in the sexual sense) is truly quite funny. It was interesting to see the character more or less stripped of all his dignity et cetera, and then just thrown down on the ground like nothing. Treated like a child. Perhaps the way that the elderly and senior citizens is just abruptly painful and disgusting. They are human, and deserve a sense of respect, not to be talked down to like a pet or a dog. Still however, watching Timothy go toe to toe with the staff of the nursing home, is just funny. Though he's the one that often ends up down on the ground like a beaten down dog. Still his persistence is admirable and admirable.

The next tale is set in a futuristic world. Written in a style of a interview between what I first thought was a android who had committed some crime, and a man who the reader simply knows as the "Archivist." So as we go through this tale we learn that this creature is not a android or robot, but rather a clone. Clones in this world that is called a "Corpocracy," are simply made for the simple reason, to do the jobs that people who are "pureblood," (a pureblood would be a person such as you or myself gentle reader) would rather not do. However something’s are left . . . unknown to the reader about this world, which is fine and dandy. I consider myself a detailed orientated person, I allowed myself to continue on with this story. Our clone who has committed some crime that we do not know of, is telling her story and how she has become so smart, et cetera, and is telling the interviewer about the cruelty that the clones "fabricants," are put through. Several times we can see the unbridled paranoia of people or "purebloods," and their unjustified prejudices take place, in the most horrible ways, and yet are not looked down upon. As the reader, we ourselves are struck by this horror, but the people that commit them, are not. Towards the end, we can truly see that the human or "purebloods," desire of hedonistic and lazy living has come at a rather cruel, ironic, and disgusting truth.

The last story and probably one that i do not as like as much as the three middle ones, is about a boy named Zachary as he tells his story. It had the potential to be such a great read, it truly did. The story was there, its interesting and captivating, but (there is always a but) it just felt wrong. The way that it was presented, just crawled under my skin like some parasitic bug crawls under a dead corpses skin, and began to itch to the point where i could not take it anymore. Perhaps it’s not even the way it was written. No actually that is wrong. David Mitchell is a very good author, so I apologize for being misleading. Its the language i guess. The extensive use of apostrophe's to make a rather fascinating and interesting sounding language, and to really make the character appear unique drove me mad. I know there are people out there, that go nuts for the use of such dialect and writing. There are people out there though as well that can read "Finnegan’s Wake," without actually sitting there scratching their head and going "huh?" or "what the fuck is this about? this makes no sense!" so in reality different tastes for us all. The language that Zachary uses just could not -- or rather would not grow on me. I could not get into it, and I could not help but bitching in my head about how much I disliked it. I said it before though. The potential of a great story is there -- no there is no potential, the great story is there. The reader just needs to get past the language in order to go through with it, and to see the story for its worth. I must admit I could not, but I know others out there certainly can and will. Those readers will certainly enjoy the story of Zachary more then I was able to.

My first read of David Mitchell, has been successful and enjoyable. I will most certainly read more fiction by David Mitchell. Maybe after I accumulate up a bit of money I can go out and buy his new novel in hardcover. Though $32.00 i tell myself is a hell of a lot to pay. But i guess to own a few hard covers, and enjoy the story you do what you have to do. I certainly look forward to seeing more of what Mr. David Mitchell pops out. I would also like to give his traditional "coming of age," novel "Black Swan Green," a try as well. I think its underappreciated by many people, and I do think it would make for a compelling read, from his post-modern narrative techniques.

Thank-You For Reading Gentle Reader
Stay Well Read

Take Care


No comments:

Post a Comment