Cloud Atlas Wanderlust

I’m half-way through one of the most intelligent and enjoyable books I’ve read all year. If you’ve read Cloud Atlas, you’ll know that the book is broken up into six seemingly unrelated adventure stories, all told in different styles and genres. As we make our way through these worlds, we see they are indeed bound by some commonalities.

Two of my favorite characters from the book are Adam Ewing, a notary caught up on a Pacific voyage in New Zealand around the 1830s, and Robert Frobisher, a down-and-out composer circa 1931 who endears himself to a famous modernist composer in Holland in exchange for a place to stay and some reprieve from his creditors. David Mitchell creates living, breathing people within a few paragraphs of prose. Needless to say, I began envisioning all the places I wanted to visit, wines I wanted to drink, and histories I wanted to study to better understand the lives of these characters, now my close friends. These are two of my “wanderlust visions,” inspired by Cloud Atlas.

Have you read the book? What were your impressions? Do these story boards make sense to you? If not, would you be interested in reading it? I can’t recommend it strongly enough.

PS, in the first storyboard I say “buy a good dictionary” because Mitchell throws out all kinds of $20 words. It’s invigorating, really.

  1. jhgardner said:

    Funnily enough, the trailer for the upcoming movie adaptation is what made me want to read Cloud Atlas. It looks epic on the kind of scale that you could never fit into a two or three hour movie.
    I also came across an image of one of David Mitchell’s plans for a story ( and just found the utmost respect for him as a writer, to be so ambitious and innovative.
    Trying to hold off on watching the movie til I get my hands on the novel, but I think I’d read it either way.

  2. I just signed up for a blog acct on here bc it was suggested by a friend and I am a fool-hearted writer.musician philosopher with so much to say, I can’t seem to decide what to release and attempt to get published…so this will hopefully succeed in reducing the anxiety and pressure that comes along with me making decisions (since every decision can lead to a different life path; haha). So yeah, I am reading the book and can’t wait for the movie to be released and as I looked up blogs on the topic, yours was the first that popped up. I too was so moved by the extended trailer that, (through the flood of tears), I managed to order the book from Amazon. That was several weeks ago and I haven’t really gotten through much because I am always busy doing something else (most of my time could arguably be better spent). Over the past year, I have sort of opened my eyes to concepts that I didn’t really see the inherent potency of: among them, parallel realities, reincarnation, interconnectedness, etc. This book/movie hit hard as I was spiritually and emotionally unfulfilled and tied in to the themes of things I had, by an act of fate (or atleast I’d like to think it was) come across. So I guess, kudos on your interest in the story, I enjoy the fact that others are open to enlightenment and willing to imagine the possibilities that nothing is for nothing. Cheers

  3. Oh I love these storyboards, Erin! And you have totally convinced me to pick up the Cloud Atlas. For some reason I have this perversion to reading books that have just been made into movies — no good reason for doing this.

    I love researching aspects of books that I read as well — getting to understand the history of the time is so enriching. I actually went through a Patrick O’Brien phase (ironically, post-Master and Commander movie) and loved everything I read. But I spent a fair amount of time drawing sketches of ships and different admiralty flags circa the Napoleonic wars so that I could understand what the characters were doing on board. 100% book geek, or more truthfully a Jane Austen/Patrick O’Brien geek ;)

  4. Loved Cloud Atlas – I went on to read everything else by David Mitchell. The one I enjoyed most was Number 9 Dream – I’m a big fan of Murakami and this book had a lot of similarities with his subject matter and style, recommended.

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