Get Your Free Audiobook

Cloud Atlas

Length: 21 hrs and 27 mins
Categories: Fiction, Literary
4 out of 5 stars (75 ratings)

Non-member price: $31.21

After 30 days, Audible is $16.45/mo. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell's best-selling Man Booker Prize-shortlisted novel which was also one of Richard & Judy's 100 Books of the Decade, has now been adapted for film. The major motion picture, directed by Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer, and Andy Wachowski, stars Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, Jim Sturgess, Ben Whishaw, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Doona Bae, James D'Arcy, Zhou Xun, Keith David, and Hugh Grant.

The novel features six characters in interlocking stories, each interrupting the one before it: a reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan's California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified dinery server on death row; and Zachry, a young Pacific islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilisation.

The narrators of Cloud Atlas hear one another's echoes down the corridor of history and their destinies are changed in ways great and small.

Mitchell's other novels are Ghostwritten, Number9Dream, Black Swan Green and The Thousand Autums of Jacob de Zoet, all published by Sceptre.

©2005 David Mitchell (P)2007 RNIB Publishing

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    37
  • 4 Stars
    20
  • 3 Stars
    10
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    6

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    36
  • 4 Stars
    14
  • 3 Stars
    9
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    4

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    32
  • 4 Stars
    14
  • 3 Stars
    10
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    4

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Te Reo was terrible

The dispronunciation of te reo Māori made the book hard to listen to. overall the story was good.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautifully told by exceptional readers.

This literary work, woven around archetypes which dwell a few choices from each of us. The readers are exceptional, transporting me into their worlds with skill.

This is not some light tome... I found it unsuitable for multitask-listening other than (in my case at least) driving. This is not a negative - the tale warrants respectful attention and takes 21hours to fully develop its characters and its threads into this rich tapestry.

An exceptional book which I enjoyed very much - for me, made far better AFTER seeing the film.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

What Can’t David Mitchell Do

Fantastic and incredibly far ranging story which will definitely keep you interested. I only docked one star for performances because it is really hard to understand the robot voice in the son-mi section.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ej
  • 13-06-2019

A riveting experience

Superb narration by all the participants .
...the novel always challenging your mind when you are reading it and when you are not reading it. Wonderful stories and characters,I could not wait for to read some more. I will be ready it again. Congratulations to author and congratulations to narrators.
EJ

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful stories

I really enjoyed the writing and the story lines in this book, however I did not appreciate the conclusion.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

cloud atlas

the audio was jarring, and four middling stories, with little reward for finishing the book

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Amazing story, ably performed

4.5 stars. Cloud Atlas is one of my favorite movies, and I listened to the book knowing the film version well. It's of course far more detailed, and my half star discount is simply that in some threads in the book, I think the asides and structure would not have held my interest without already knowing the story from the movie. I find the two future threads the most compelling, and the Cavendish thread the most entertaining, so when these form the middle of the book, the beginning and end can't quite compare. The ambition of the work is startling, however, a must read purely to marvel at the distinction of the voices and worlds.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

incredible story telling

the author has a gift for storytelling. an interesting weaving together of narrative and crazy dystopian future you can almost beleive human greed could lead us to. probably would have liked the ending to have tied off more neatly tho.. still many enjoyable hours of listening. ....being transported to other lives and times in history

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 21-12-2019

Sheer brilliance

This book will stay with me for a long time. The performances by the narrators are fantastic, but it is Mitchell’s writing and the way he structures the stories that truly captivates. Highly recommended.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 31-10-2019

Excellent

This was an incredible book. I have watched the film multiple times and loved it, but the book just makes it so much better. The book and the film are excellent compliments to one another and I recommend it to any person who has enjoyed either the book or the film.
The only difficulty is listening to the 5th story about Sonmi, the voice of the archivist is grating at first but one gets used to it as the story progresses. Will definitely listen to this again.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Lisa Stornes
  • Lisa Stornes
  • 15-10-2019

Amazing

Really engaging and exciting book. The interconnected stories are fascinating and keep you wanting to continue listening to find out more.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Judy Engela
  • Judy Engela
  • 19-08-2018

Fantastic Story, Brilliantly Narrated

Performance:
Each narrator brings amazing flair to their section. What an absolutely fantastic listen! When the second half of each story came around, I felt I had missed these voices and was so excited to hear them again!

Story:
An absolutely epic story. Mitchell can write in different genres and yet ties them all together wonderfully. So so well done. Thoroughly enjoyed it and so glad I finally ticked this off my list!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Michael
  • Michael
  • 01-02-2018

this is a GREAT book. enjoyed it twice

i really good read. i wish i had a box full of it
clever structure. great character depth. great STORY. the best read in a long time.
like all good books:i pondered life and "nearly " had a tear
engaging!!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for A reader
  • A reader
  • 09-10-2017

A good book, brilliantly read

The talented group of narrators make this a great audio book that covers a great rate of inter-weaved stories

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for T
  • T
  • 25-02-2013

Great book, brought to life better than any movie

I loved the book when it first came out in print and have been looking out for an unabridged version on audible ever since. The movie may be bonkers (not necessarily bad for that) but don't let that put you off. I know some readers found the hard to get into, but I reckon it's a lot easier with the audible version so, if you have doubts initially, do stick with it. Connections between the different narratives can seem somewhat tenuous, but each is rewarding in its own right. I had forgotten how funny parts of it are (now brought to life by excellent narration), and how unsettling elements set in the future can feel. Overall, a great listen, strongly recommended.

32 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for LilyRose
  • LilyRose
  • 05-08-2013

Intriguing

I wanted to see if this lived up to the hype surrounding it. To be honest, probably not - I don't want to give spoilers but I found some of the stories a fraction disappointing in the end. It's not nearly as groundbreaking as it's been made out to be, but it's still intriguing and well-written. The different narrators all came across excellently - they were all read and characterised well and it was, overall, a very good listen. I enjoyed coming back to it each time and wanted to find out what happened in each story.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Liz Terry
  • Liz Terry
  • 20-11-2014

Loved it!

This is the most extraordinary book, I've never read anything quite like it. Once I realised what was going on (it took a few chapters) I thought it was brilliant, and a very clever use of narrative hooks to keep me interested to the end.
It's a very long book, but I was so immersed in the characters and unfolding stories that I was really sad when it ended.
The author also uses the unusual narrative arc of the story to make a lot of subtle comments about human society, religion and survival that I completely agree with ideologically as well.
I would recommend this to anyone. Keep listening beyond the first couple of chapters - it'll be worth it I promise!

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Matt
  • Matt
  • 04-05-2013

Mixed narration quality, interesting story.

First off, persevere beyond the first narrator who's voice is mono-tone and tedious. The other narrators are infinitely better and the story as a whole doesn't suffer too much when you get beyond that first reader.

It's an interesting tale which still seems more concept than finished article. The author clearly had an "idea" to do something different.. but ultimately settled for telling a bunch of very good, though fairly routine tales, the links between which are not really developed, explored or explained.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mrs G
  • Mrs G
  • 07-03-2013

What an incredible listen!

To start with I was very confused with what the story was about, but after Jacob de Zoet I was determined to persist. This is the book which has to be listened to with full concentration. After being completely drawn into this incredible yarn of past, present and future, with fantastic readers' voices I found myself postponing jobs and in the end bought the book to listen with the text! I went through each of three parts a few times to savour well written prose and it is sure I will be returning to this listen again and again. I must add that with just a text I would struggle at the beginning.

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Music teacher under pressure
  • Music teacher under pressure
  • 02-05-2013

Dreadful narrator & low production values

Some really obvious sightreading, audible page turns etc. The narrator in the first chapters sounds so bored it renders a great story unlistenable.
Not up to the standard of many other productions.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Diane
  • Diane
  • 24-04-2013

Not for me

I've really struggled with this audiobook - maybe it would have been better if I had read it rather than listened to it, but I didn't like all the stories and because I had to make myself listen to it, it took a long time to finish it and I lost track of where each story was up to. Not for me I'm afraid.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Miss
  • Miss
  • 13-04-2013

A revelation

I loved this book, it really comes alive as an audio book. I struggled with the print edition but have revelled in this version. It is well written, fast paced and - if it wasn't and audio book i'd say it was a real page turner.

It made the journeys to and from work a real pleasure.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Karim
  • Karim
  • 07-08-2013

Many stories of variable quality

I very nearly didn't complete this audiobook. in fact I almost barely started it as the first narrator does such a poor job. Monotone monopaced dull dull dull. I slogged through his particular rendition to eventually get into a far better performance of the Robert Frobisher character. That performance and Sonmi were highlights in an audio book of variable delivery.
As if to underline the fact, Zachry's accent was almost impenetrable and too me at least 45 minutes before my ear eventually kicked into understanding his mode of speech.

The book itself left me somewhat disappointed in the end. Maybe the variable renditions meant I missed points in the book that tied the stories better together. There were particular highlights, the Sonmi, Robert Frobisher and Timothy Cavendish stories were well performed, appeared to actually have something to say and more than made up for the rest of the book. I suspect I would have enjoyed the Adam Ewing story much better having read it.

It has piqued my interest in the film however as I am interested that maybe by using common actors across the story lines the overarching story concepts may be made more clear.

Overall I am glad to have experienced it for the good parts and I'll just forget the poor bits.


8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Andy Parsons
  • Andy Parsons
  • 07-04-2013

Tour de form

David Mitchell always takes the road more interesting. This is a series of short stories or novellas that are tenuously connected starting in the nineteenth century and whipping past the present into the future.

The subject matter and style varies from adventure to thriller and sicfi but the themes are about form and decepteption and the book holds together because of the exciting central idea and strong individual plots.

The reading is very strong though there is a section that seems to be partially read by machine which takes a little getting used to.

The longish central story I found the least interesting but since it is only novellla length and it's not bad it didn't detract much from the the whole book.



My favourite was the story of the the book publisher which is laugh out loud funny in many places.



Overal a fantastically satisfying and intricate book in a form you will not have experienced before. Highly recommended.

3 people found this helpful