Cloud Atlas 08 - Sloosha's Crossin' An' EV'Rythin' After

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So this story, together with An Orison, really seemed good to me. I found the representation of orality interesting, and when I had some trouble figuring it out found it was corrected simply by slowing down and sounding out the sentences. I always associate this with Faulkner, which is strange because A Clockwork Orange was actually the first book I read that was written in this style, but there you go.

I thought our protagonist was well-drawn, and the story and the characterisations believable. I also felt that it continued the kind of world-building I sensed in An Orison. I was a bit disappointed as I continued the book and read the conclusions of the other stories, because I never really got that world-connection across them all. I think that this story improved my appreciation for the Pacific Journal, largely because I saw a reflection in the relations among the Whites, Moriori and Maori with this story. Is this a story of Autua from a different point of view?

At the same time it crystallised some of my doubts about Cloud Atlas as a whole. Perhaps I am just too impatient a reader, but I never really got that interested in riddling out these possible reflections and refractions. In stead I often felt that I was watching someone show off a technical mastery of complexity that was not perfectly suited, or maybe subordinated, to plot and character. Perhaps if I had been more fascinated by the puzzle of it I wouldn't have had this reaction.

Comments

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    @BarnerCobblewood said:
    So this story, together with An Orison, really seemed good to me. I found the representation of orality interesting, and when I had some trouble figuring it out found it was corrected simply by slowing down and sounding out the sentences. I always associate this with Faulkner, which is strange because A Clockwork Orange was actually the first book I read that was written in this style, but there you go.

    It’s interesting that you mention Faulkner. I’ve been thinking about the relationship between the stories here in a similar fashion to the various stories told in Absolam, Absolam! I’m developing my thoughts and have in mind a post in the thread about structure.

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    So for me this last / innermost ring nicely completed the overall storyline. The several attempts to stem the trend towards greed and oppression are close to failure - each time we think we are moving towards some sense of expansion and recovery, the move is dashed by some larger force, whether brought about by other humans or the aftermath of whatever crisis had largely swept away Sonmi's world.

    The film, of course, adopted a different and fundamentally optimistic / expansionist resolution - as I mentioned elsewhere, I can easily see both as possible endings to this ring, and I can easily imagine an oral storyteller picking which version he or she wanted on the day. Oral storytelling is fluid, and frequently is situationally driven, and it seems very apposite to me that we end with an oral culture trying to hang on to bits and pieces of what has been known in the past (yet at the same time horrified by the discovery that the same impetus towards progress and special stuff goes hand in hand with destruction and disintegration).

    As has no doubt been clear, I totally loved both the overall tale that David Mitchell has told in Cloud Atlas, and also his chosen way of telling it in both a time-sequential set of short stories and a concentric ring structure. So for me this has been a great choice of book, for which many thanks.

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    This story felt like full circle to me from a world- building point of view, because it’s a rebirth. The next progression in time would have been similar to Ewing’s timeline.
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