Cloud Atlas

By David Mitchell

Rating: 3 stars

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what to make of this book. It consisted of six short-ish stories, five of which were split up, so the book works a bit like a a stack, using a computing metaphor (so the first section and the last were the two halves of the same story). Supposedly, the stories are connected, but I’m not convinced, except in very tenuous ways (although you could argue that the same person is showing up again and again, in different incarnations).

As others who have read this book have commented, the SF sections towards the end are very interesting and leave me wanting to know more about those societies, but the device that Mitchell used for the novel didn’t really work in my case. It was a fairly enjoyable journey but the destination wasn’t really worth it (unlike Cryptonomicon, another book with no real destination but a stunning journey).

Book details

ISBN: 9780340822777
Publisher: Sceptre
Year of publication: 2004


By Jean-Paul Sartre

Rating: 2 stars

This is a novel about alienation. The protagonist, Antoine Roquentin, is trying to write a book about an 18th century nobleman, but keep getting distracted by The Pointlessness Of It All. Although the book itself was easy enough to read, I don’t feel that I got much out of it. Despite the long soliloquies, I don’t feel that I really got under Roquentin’s skin or at the source of his ‘Nausea’ as it put it, or really sympathised with him at all. I just wanted to shake him and tell him to snap out of it.

I found the bits of the book where Roquentin is being active or talking to people or doing something much easier to read than the bits where he’s agonising over nothing at all. It possibly deserves a reread though — now that I know what to expect, I may get something more out of it.

Book details

ISBN: 9780140022766
Publisher: Penguin Books
Year of publication: 1938

The Bulpington of Blup

By H.G. Wells

Rating: 2 stars

I’m really not sure what to make of this book. It took me ages to read and I’m still not sure whether I liked it or not. It follows the life of a man (Theodore Bulpington) from a childhood in the late 19th century to about the 1930s. Theodore is someone who can’t quite face life so deals with it in childhood by creating an “idealised” version of himself (the eponymous Bulpington of Blup) and later by remembering only what he wants to remember (including things that may not have happened, eg that he kept out of the Great War for the first year because “the doctors rejected him”) and creating a shell of lies around him that effectively suppresses his own personality.

Like I say, I’m not sure what to make of it. The main character, whilst not really nasty, is unpleasant and unlikeness (I found) and I found it difficult to plough through. I’m not sure if I would recommend this other than as an oddity by Wells.

Book details

ISBN: 9780755103966
Publisher: House of Stratus
Year of publication: 1932

« Newer Posts

Powered by WordPress