So, the gimmick here is the structure --- six stories embedded like matryoshka dolls, spanning various places and time periods. Different genres are represented, from mystery to dystopian sci-fi. It's all brilliantly done, and author David Mitchell more than proves he can write any sort of book he wants to, thank you very much. The kicker is that when you read Cloud Atlas again, after the oohs and aahs of the structural trickery have worn off, the brilliance of the writing is not diminished. It remains achingly tragic and funny and suspenseful and sad.
Representative quote: "The sacred is a fine hiding place for the profane."
You might not like it if: You are tired of people gushing over it.
How to get it: The novel is widely available, which is good, because you should read it before the film adaptation comes out. You don't want to be the only one without a scathing remark about what the movie got wrong.
Connection to previous Wreckage: Mitchell's follow-up to Cloud Atlas was Black Swan Green (Rec. #72).
Additional note: I have it on very good authority that David Mitchell is delightful at his readings.
[Originally posted 6/8/11.]