I recently finished reading “Atlas Cloud” by David Mitchell. Previously this author was recommended to me by a colleague at work as they know the kind of literature – and questionable literature – I enjoy. To be honest, I wasn’t going to buy any of his books – for some reason I take umbrage at people recommending things to me. Well, not all people, just…some people. However, they are now making a film of the book with Halle Berry, part of which was filmed in Glasgow. So obviously it piqued my interest, but in trying to maintain my cool veneer I bought it on Amazon, instead of being that twat that goes into Waterstones and only buys a book because they are making a film of it in Glasgow.
I had bought a number of books on Amazon, (also having bought a copy of World War Z for the same reason as above), and it took me a while to get round to it. I left it until last as this was the one I was most excited about reading. I would get history, modern day and dystopia all in one novel, which would have made me squeal in excitement, if I were a squealing sort of girl. In addition to which, we had a day of downtime in work which meant I would just get to read all day with minimal interruption and get paid for it. So in the morning I finished reading “I Capture the Castle”, and the moved onto Atlas Cloud.
I am thinking perhaps my expectations were too high as I fully expected to be immediately engrossed in this novel and in my opinion, it fell a bit flat. I read about 50 pages and was struggling to force myself to read more. In the end I think I read about 50/75 pages and then stopped and just mucked about online for the rest of the day. That night I was going to a friend’s house, so in the morning while they were doing some work I read a bit more, and this time I found myself becoming a bit more engrossed as I got onto the second person’s story, but still, it wasn’t quite the oomph that I expected on reading it.
Individually, all the stories were good, interesting, engrossing to a point, but I felt that the interconnectivity between them was forced, and to be honest, a bit uninteresting. It didn’t feel as though there was any overarching story arc which connected all the characters together – there is a reason, but I won’t elaborate in case you haven’t read it, and wish to do so. To be honest, it seemed a bit weak. That isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy it, I really did, particularly one of the dystopian stories.
It isn’t an easy read – it does require concentration! While enjoyable, it didn’t pull me in, I wasn’t constantly clamouring for the next moment in which I could read more. I was a bit disappointed to be honest, but this was partially because of my high expectations. Also, the one odd thing about it? His frequent use of the work cuckold. It is one of my top 50 words, but it is quite unusual to find it in modern literature. The first time I came across it was while reading about Emma Hamilton, in dicussing her marriage to William Hamilton while she was shagging Horatio Nelson – in which all parties were aware of the arrangement. Some similarity to the events revealed in “Lady Worselys Whim”.
Basically, the upper classes during the Georgian Period were all about the extra marital affairs – which were not always conducted discretely. So there would have been many a cuckolded man – see Gilray’s satirical prints from this time for further amusement.
Anyway, back to the book, enjoyable, but did not live up to expectations. Would still recommend as an interesting read though, and I am intrigued as to how it will be portrayed on film.