Post by Dear Dairy on Jul 23, 2008 14:49:59 GMT -5
In the first set, each solo is interrupted by its successor: in the second, each interruption is recontinued, in order. Revolutionary, or gimmicky? Shan’t know until it’s finished, and by then it’ll be too late . . .
This quotation from "Letters from Zedelghem," on the surface, is a description of the structure of Frobisher's musical composition, "Cloud Atlas Sextet." It also describes the structure of the six stories that make up Cloud Atlas.
Any comments on the structure of the novel? Is this device revolutionary, or gimmicky?
Post any other comments about the novel's writing style here - or create your own specific thread if you want!
Last Edit: Jul 23, 2008 15:18:34 GMT -5 by Dear Dairy
Originally I thought it was just gimmicky and annoying.
In fact, with the first story, I refused to be interrupted and skipped straight to the end to carry on. But I regretted that when Frobisher started to speculate about Ewing's diary and I wasn't in the same position as him to speculate with him.
I can see two good things about the structure:
1) We get a break in the middle of each story to stop and think about how it's going, what might be going to happen, and what it all has to tell us. The next protogonist's reading of the story so far encourages us to make use of the break and do that.
As the individual stories are quite short, I would guess we would otherwise mostly read each at a sitting and have no chance for reflection along the way.
2) The stories come in a sensible chronological sequnce and take us maybe 1000 years into the future. But the structure enables him to not leave us there, but to take us back and finally leave us in the past, with all that future again up for grabs.
I think that makes it a less depressing whole.
But it took me a long time to see these advantages. As I read, I was continually annoyed. I think it made it worse that the first interruption came i mid sentance, not even at the end of a chapter like the Frobishe and Luisa Rey stories. This is forced by the nature of the interruption for Frobisher - as a torn book. But I think it makes it harder for the reader, particularly the first time. He might have organised that better.
I, too, was somewhat annoyed by the breaks, mainly because of my own reading style. I have a tendency to read fast the first time through, which takes away from my comprehension. By the time I got to the second half of the story, I had forgotten (or missed) certain essential details and had to go back and re-read parts.
But as a work about reincarnation (things going around and coming back around) the structure of the novel reinforces the theme beautifully. Cavendish makes the same point when he says (something like): "Most stories are just re-tellings of the same story."
Last Edit: Aug 10, 2008 0:11:10 GMT -5 by Dear Dairy