Cloud Atlas

David Mitchell

“The novel as series of nested dolls”: it starts with a journal from colonial times, moves on to a series of letters from the 1930s, a mystery from the 1970s, a British comedy script idea placed contemporary time, a science fiction story in the form of an interview, and then a post-apocalyptic oral narrative — after which it retreats back from where it came, the stories all interlocking. The layers build on and you can peel them back as you wish and let them operate in many different ways: recurring themes in history; trends in literature or more specifically, how stories are told; the transcendence of the soul. The more I consider this novel, the more it opens up.