The only previous exposure to Cloud Atlas, or David Mitchell in general was the movie based on this book. I couldn't take my eyes off the movie, and decided that I *had* to read the book. After much procrastination (because I'm terrible like that), I finally got around to it.
I loved this book. The beginning was a bit slow - the story didn't really start to pick up until Frobisher's story started, I felt. (Thanks for the spoilers, by the way, Frobisher.) However, once the plot took off, and the symmetry of the story became apparent, I absolutely fell in love.
The book starts with Ewing's journal.
Frobisher writes in a letter to his friend Sixsmith how he finds and reads Ewing's journal.
Louisa Rey finds and reads Frobisher's letters to Sixsmith, a man she gets trapped in an elevator with.
Timothy Cavendish is sent a story about Louisa Rey's life.
Sonmi watches an old movie based on Cavendish's story.
Zachry sees footage of Sonmi's interview.
One thing connects to another perfectly, and then works its way back down the ladder.
Zachry's story is told by his son, who finishes watching the footage of Sonmi.
Sonmi's last request is to finish watching Cavendish's movie.
Cavendish gets the second half of the "Louisa Rey" book by the end of his story.
Louisa Rey gets the final eight letters from Frobisher to Sixsmith.
And, before the end, Frobisher finds the second half of Ewing's journal, which brings everything neatly back to the beginning.
The story is parabolic in nature.
I enjoyed all of the stories, although I probably liked Sonmi's the most. I liked Zachry's a lot more than I thought I would - the dialect in the movie just grated on my nerves, but somehow, it worked just fine in print.