Cloud Atlas

Cloud Atlas

I recently came across the trailer of “Cloud Atlas” on the internet. Quickly checking up with IMDB is saw that the cast has nice line featuring among others Tom Hanks and Halle Berry. The directors of this movie were none other than Tom Wyker from “Run Lola Run” and the Wachowskis who did the matrix series. 

Here's the trailer:

I watched the trailer and after it was finished it took me a few moments to fully let it sink in. The trailer itself was kind of confusing. The ending finished with the statement “Everything is connected”. But I could not make heads nor tails from it. So I did a little digging on the internet and found that “Cloud Atlas” is actually based on a novel written by David Mitchell and was published by Hodder and Stoughton in 2004.

Taken from the Hodder and Stoughton website:
The novel features six characters in interlocking stories, each interrupting the one before it: a reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a hig-minded journalist in Governor Reagan's California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified dinery server on death-row; and Zachry, a young Pacific islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilisation. The narrators of CLOUD ATLAS hear each other's echoes down the corridor of history, and their destinies are changes in ways great and small.

And a small excerpt:

Thursday, 7th November –
Beyond the Indian hamlet, upon a forlorn strand, I happened on a trail of recent footprints. Through rotting kelp, sea cocoa-nuts & bamboo, the tracks led me to their maker, a white man, his trowzers & Pea-jacket rolled up, sporting a kempt beard & an outsized Beaver, shovelling & sifting the cindery sand with a tea-spoon so intently that he noticed me only after I had hailed him from ten yards away. Thus it was, I made the acquaintance of Dr Henry Goose, surgeon to the London nobility. His nationality was no surprise. If there be any eyrie so desolate, or isle so remote that one may there resort unchallenged by an Englishman, ’tis not down on any map I ever saw.

Had the doctor misplaced anything on that dismal shore? Could I render assistance? Dr Goose shook his head, knotted loose his ’kerchief & displayed its contents with clear pride.
‘Teeth, sir, are the enamelled grails of the quest in hand. In days gone by this Arcadian strand was a cannibals’ banqueting hall, yes, where the strong engorged themselves on the weak. The teeth, they spat out, as you or I would expel cherry stones. But these base molars, sir, shall be transmuted to gold & how? An artisan of Piccadilly who fashions denture-sets for the nobility pays handsomely for human gnashers. Do you know the price a quarter pound will earn, sir?’

I confessed I did not.

‘Nor shall I enlighten you, sir, for ’tis a professional secret!’ He tapped his nose. ‘Mr Ewing, are you acquainted with Marchioness Grace of Mayfair? No? The better for you, for she is a corpse in petticoats. Five years have passed since this harridan besmirched my name, yes, with imputations that resulted in my being blackballed from Society.’ Dr Goose looked out to sea. ‘My peregrinations began in that dark hour.’

I expressed sympathy with the doctor’s plight.

‘I thank you, sir, I thank you, but these ivories,’ he shook his ’kerchief, ‘are my angels of redemption. Permit me to elucidate. The Marchioness wears dental-fixtures fashioned by the aforementioned doctor. Next yuletide, just as that scented She-Donkey is addressing her Ambassadors’ Ball, I, Henry Goose, yes, I shall arise & declare to one & all that our hostess masticates with cannibals’ gnashers! Sir Hubert will challenge me, predictably, ‘‘Furnish your evidence,’’ that boor shall roar, ‘‘or grant me satisfaction!’’ I shall declare, ‘‘Evidence, Sir Hubert? Why, I gathered your mother’s teeth myself from the spittoon of the South Pacific! Here, sir, here are some of their fellows!’’ & fling these very teeth into her tortoise-shell soup tureen & that, sir, that will grant me my satisfaction! The twittering wits will scald the icy Marchioness in their news-sheets & by next season she shall be fortunate to receive an invitation to a Poor-house Ball!’

In haste, I bade Henry Goose a good day. I fancy he is a Bedlamite.

To read the whole excerpt please visit: the Hodder website

Looking at the reception that the book has gotten so far I think this is definitely a book to add to my to read list. I will of course also watch the movie. Although quite often you see that the movies do not quite live up to the expectations that you get from the books themselves (or at least that is my opinion). I do hope that "Cloud Atlas" does, the special effects do look spectacular!

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