Part 1: The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing (first half)
Part 2: Letters from Zedelghem (first half)
Part 3: Half-Lives: The First Luisa Rey Mystery (first half)
Part 4: The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish (first half)
Part 5: An Orison of Sonmi~451 (first half)
Part 6: Sloosha’s Crossin’ an’ Ev’rythin’ After (whole story)
Part 7: An Orison of Sonmi~451 (second half)
Part 8: The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish (second half)
Part 9: Half-Lives: The First Luisa Rey Mystery (second half)
Part 10: Letters from Zedelghem (second half)
Part 11: The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing (second half)
What a difference twelve weeks of reading, thinking, and discussion can make. I thought I had a pretty good grasp of this book from the first time round. I remembered how much of the book was about the predatory nature of human beings, and that it was an exercise in writing in different genres with different voices. I knew that the stories were barely connected (or so I thought!) and that they were possibly about reincarnation, or at least about the overall human experience.
I wasn’t wrong, but my understanding was much shallower than I realized. I began to have an inkling about that when I read David Mitchell’s Ghostwritten a year later. With so many little connections fizzing throughout that book (including appearances by Timbo Cavendish and Luisa Rey from Cloud Atlas!), I wondered how much else was going on in Cloud Atlas than perhaps I’d first noticed in just a regular reading.