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Where’s Martin?

April 28, 2011
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Hello my name is not Martin! My name is katypeg. Martin isn’t blogging this week because in all the bank holiday excitement he got a bit tipsy…

And started making prank phone calls…

So today he is nursing a mean hangover and I am pegging about something NOT KRAFT RELATED! Dum dum dummmmmm.

This week I have FINISHED Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (NOT the hilarious David Mitchell off ‘ov Mitchell and Webb)

My dear mamapeg will be chuckling about this because I think she thought I would never finish it, as I did the unthinkable and started reading it ages ago and stopped. But I started it again and as I am a slow reader – here we are. I wanted to recommend it because I thought it was a pretty awesome book and brilliantly clever. So…

Crikey…. well…. The book is divided into 6 very different stories. But the thing they all have in common is that the central character is fighting against something – whether its a brain eating parasite, a dystopia set in the not-so-distant-future or a residential nursing home! The variety in this book is ASTOUNDING. In each story you are desperately willing the character telling the story (whether through a diary or letter correspondance etc.) to succeed and conquer their demons. Thier demons usually stemming from the dark side of human nature. Mitchell takes us on mini-philosophical-thriller-rollarcoasters through each tale, moments of elation seemed to be short-lived and head-butted out of the way with another twist in the tale. Another very original thing he does is he splits the stories in half so that before you can finish one story you have to read the halves of the others. Does that make sense? Didn’t think so. So the order of the stories are…

The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing – part 1

Letters from Zedelghem – part 1

Half-lives – The Luisa Rey Mystery – part 1

The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish – part 1

An Orison of Sonmi 451 – part 1

Sloosha’s Crossin’ an’ Ev’rythin’ After – full story

An Orison of Sonmi 451 – part 2

The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish – part 2

Half-lives – The Luisa Rey Mystery – part 2

Letters from Zedelghem – part 2

The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing – part 2

So you think how the chuff am I supposed to remember the first part of the story 500 pages ago?!?! My thoughts too. But I think he succeeds with the combination of his great storylines that stays with you, the reminding hints he drops in the part 2’s and the MIND-BOGGLING way in which the stories are all connected.

The stories aren’t connected in the lame kind of way that the film “Crash” does (apologies if you like Crash. but it really is just another film that doesn’t teach you anything new about racism…. with Sandra Bullock. NB. I am of course talking about the film Crash made in 2004 not the one made in 1996 which explores the lives of people who like to have sex while watching someone get mutilated in a traffic accident.) ANYWAY they are connected in an ingenious way where I can’t even comprehend how he wrote this damned thing! I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to spoil it if you haven’t read it. Generally speaking the characters are influenced by characters in other stories through letters, books, holograms, films and even music they have written.

My fave stories and characters…(with no spoilers)

I loved Letters from Zedelghem because it’s final kick in the tale is so painfully AND beautifully heartbreaking. Robert Frobisher is our main man here and has many anti-hero qualities, but he is an attractive character. In my head, I imagine James McAvoy (with english accent) playing him….yummerz

I also really enjoyed An Orison of Somni 451 because I love a good sci fi and it felt like a real Margaret Atwood-esque dystopia. I can see Natalie Portman playing Sonmi 451 – or maybe that’s because I see Natalie Portman everywhere at the moment? Weirdly though… I have read there are rumours of adapting the book into a film….(eeeeeeek) and Portman is rumoured to star in it. How is it possible to look good bald?

WHAT? NO!

Film adaptations of fantasy books are usually disappointing. Let’s be honest. His Dark Materials, The Lovely Bones and Dr Seuss’ The Grinch to name a few. (This is not to say that ALL film adaptations are pants – take Trainspotting, Clockwork Orange and One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest). Tom Tykwer (made pretty obscure films) is directing it along with the Wachowskis (famous for the Matrixes, or should I say Matrices …or Mattresses?) On IMDB, Tom Hanks (to play Dr Henry Goose from The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing) Halle Berry (to play Meronym from Sloosha’s Crossin’) and Hugo Weaving (the guy from the Matrix that says “Mr Anderson” a lot) are said to be in it. No complaints so far… I guess we will have to wait and see! I must admit – I will defo spend my money at the cinema to watch it, even if it is an anti-climax.

I shall leave you with a rather wonderful quote from David Mitchell about the title of his book.

‘The “cloud” refers to the ever-changing manifestations of the “atlas”, which is the fixed human nature’.

Happy reading this holiday 🙂

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