October's Book: Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

David Mitchell, two-time finalist for the Booker Prize, joins us to talk about his 2004 novel Cloud Atlas. The story is told through six separate but related narratives, each set in a different time and place, and written in a different style. Novelist Michael Chabon called it “not just dazzling, amusing, or clever but heartbreaking and passionate, too.”

If you have a question for David Mitchell, leave a comment below! 


David Mitchell

Comments [17]

Ed from Larchmont

It doesn't bother me, of course, that the speakers don't believe at this time in the resurrection, but it does bother me when they imply that no one believes in it, or that they state that it didn't happen. That's their view.

Oct. 18 2012 05:56 AM
Ed from Larchmont

There is one person who has come back from the dead - Jesus. (Not to mention saints, etc. who have appeared, Mary.) To say no is to deny Catholic doctrine - oops.

Oct. 17 2012 02:48 PM
Kel from Nolita

Will you marry us?

Oct. 17 2012 01:50 PM
Kel from Nolita

Will you marry us?

Oct. 17 2012 01:49 PM
Artemis9109 from Lexington, KY

I know that David is a patron of the British Stammering Association. I am also an adult who stutters. I have recently been promoted and will be required to do more public speaking. I was wondering if Mr Mitchell had any advice on how he handles public speaking?

Oct. 17 2012 01:42 PM
Rae from Harrisonburg, Virginia

I was an English teacher in Taiwan and am an aspiring writer. I LOVED Cloud Atlas. I fell off the social radar as soon as I started reading it. You're an inspiration! This is sincerely the greatest epic I've ever read.

Oct. 17 2012 01:42 PM

This book totally blew me away, and is one of the few books about which my book club was unanimously enthusiastic. Can you tell me which came first, the structure of the book (Cloud Atlas), or the authors/styles you wanted to "quote", i.e. reflect, i.e. Russell Hoban in the post-apocalyptic section?

Oct. 17 2012 01:41 PM
Fran weiner from Brooklyn

Are there actually 2 versions of the novel, British and American?

Oct. 17 2012 01:38 PM
Liz from Manhattan

Did David Mitchell have a mentor when he began his career?

Oct. 17 2012 01:33 PM
karean from highland park, NJ

if the film (Cloud Atlas) gets poor reviews, will you consider your book - the 1000 autumns of jacob de zoet - to be optioned? Altho I thought Cloud Atlas your best, we (husband and I) loved the 1000 autumns - and think that that would be easier to make into a film. note: we have all your books and look forward to more of your writing. thank you!!!

Oct. 17 2012 01:28 PM
Marie from Brooklyn, around the corner from Martin Amis

David Mitchell's suggestion about writing an autobiographical chapter for yourself in your fiction character's voice - to get to know your characters better - is wonderful. While I read fiction all the time I am too intimidated to write it - I am mired in non fiction. Thank you!

Oct. 17 2012 01:26 PM
James from Brooklyn

Hey David, Thank you for the advice!

Oct. 17 2012 01:25 PM
Lunah from Trenton

Would I be wrong to read a love for, or at least strong interest in, the supernatural in your writing?

Oct. 17 2012 01:18 PM
James from Brooklyn


I am struggling through writing my first novel right now. How does the author keep his faith to work every day?

Thank you

Oct. 17 2012 01:17 PM
Rae from Harrisonburg, Virginia

Do you think this book has a fundamentally negative view of humanity, or is ultimately hopeful?

Oct. 17 2012 01:09 PM
karen swaine from highland park, NJ

"Cloud Atlas" is one of my all-time favorite books. it's in my top 20 list, so as soon as i heard that it was to be made into a movie, i dreaded the result. ah well, it won't be the first wonderful book to be a flop as a movie. (altho not yet officially reviewed, i've read enough to clue me in.) i hope the movie won't put off folks who might be curious to read it... as well as his earlier "Ghostwritten" and "The 1000 Autumns of Jacob de Zoet", his last, which is as good as Cloud Atlas, if not even better!

Sep. 22 2012 01:42 PM
Louise K Forman from Princeton NJ

Read this a while ago in my local book club! Very complex and interesting! Wondering how they will manage to turn this into a movie - will they ruin it by not following the structure of the book?

Sep. 17 2012 12:08 PM

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