It’s not often that I get to see a movie based on a novel I haven’t read. I am a voracious reader, but I do not like going to the movies. Cloud Atlas gave me that chance: I had read about the novel only in passing, but the movie was front and center on the Amazon home screen. A perfect opportunity!
I hear the novel was not doing so well, until it hit China and then it became a huge hit. Reading about the structure, I make sense of the cultural difference that could lead to different acceptance.
The novel is a cheap read, apparently, because the author wrote not one, but six independent stories and joined them in a very creative fashion. The plot starts out in the South Pacific in 1850. It’s a fanciful plot of betrayal and greed. About half-way through this story – poof, it turns out the whole thing was just something someone else read in 1931. That someone else has an own story that goes to the half-way mark, and then it turns out that this story was something read by someone in 1975.
This goes on until the last (sixth) story, which is set in the future and has a fighting chance to find an end. After the end of this story, the end of the story before is told, followed by the story before it. At the end, we hear the second half of the first story, the one set in the South Pacific in 1850.