My rating: 4 of 5 stars
David Mitchell is the literary equivalent of that person who can do scarily accurate impersonations of everyone. He throws himself into a pastiche of literary styles and time periods with verve and brilliance. Cloud Atlas is like five extremely provocative and entertaining novellas for the price of one. The question for me, though, is this: Are the artificial plot breakages and post-modern conveyances necessary? Is Mitchell afraid that it's not clever enough simply to be a supremely gifted storyteller? To my mind, it's the opposite. Storytelling is the true magic.