Cloud Atlas

Cloud Atlas Study Guide

Cloud Atlas was written by British novelist David Mitchell and published in the United Kingdom by Sceptre, an imprint of Hodder and Stoughton in 2004. The novel was released the same year in the United States by Random House.

Cloud Atlas consists of six interconnected stories separated by time and place. Spanning decades, the novel opens with the sea voyage of a young notary in the South Pacific in the nineteen century and ends in post-apoplectic Hawaii. The tome interweaves each of its six tales by connecting the main characters with one another through found letters, journals, books, films, etc. The writing style varies throughout the novel, but the link between the characters and the undulating pulse of its massive themes (reincarnation, dominance, faith, among others) unites each story as a whole.

Praised for its innovation Cloud Atlas was short listed for the Man Booker Prize, the Nebula Award, and the Arthur C. Clark Award. It won the British Best Book Awards for Literary Fiction and the Richard and Judy Book of the Year Award.

Cloud Atlas the novel was adapted into a film in 2012 starring Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, Jim Broadbent, Jim Sturgess, Hugo Weaving, Susan Sarandon, and many others. The film received mixed critical reviews and did poorly at the box office despite its large budget. It remains one of the most expensive independent films ever produced with a final budget of $102 million.