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Structure and style
In an interview, David Mitchell stated that the title was inspired by the piece of music of the same name by the Japanese composer Toshi Ichiyanagi, who was Yoko Ono’s first husband: "I bought the CD just because of that track's beautiful title." Mitchell's previous novel, Number9Dream, had also been inspired by a piece of music by Yoko Ono's more famous husband, John Lennon; Mitchell has said this fact "pleases me ... though I couldn’t duplicate the pattern indefinitely."
This book is often read by English classes because of its unique structure. Eldridge believes that it has much deeper meaning than the oppression of people and cultures.[not in citation given]
The book's style was inspired by Italo Calvino's If On A Winter's Night A Traveller, which contains several incomplete interrupted narratives. Mitchell's innovation was to add a 'mirror' in the centre of his book so that each story could be brought to a conclusion.
Mitchell has noted that the characters Robert Frobisher and Vyvyan Ayrs were inspired by Eric Fenby and Frederick Delius (Fenby was an amanuensis to the great English composer).
Cloud Atlas contains links with Mitchell's other works. The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish and Half-Lives: The First Luisa Rey Mystery revisit minor characters from Mitchell's earlier novel Ghostwritten. And the daughter of Ayrs in Letters from Zedelgehm reappears in Black Swan Green as an elderly woman befriended by the main character.
- Plot summary
- Linking themes
- Structure and style
- Film adaptation
- Further reading