Cloud Atlas (Mitchell) - Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions 
Use our LitLovers Book Club Resources; they can help with discussions for any book:

How to Discuss a Book (helpful discussion tips)
Generic Discussion Questions—Fiction and Nonfiction
Read-Think-Talk (a guided reading chart)

Also consider these LitLovers talking points to help get a discussion started for Cloud Atlas:

1. What is Cloud Atlas about? What are the questions the book explores—its primary thematic concerns?

2. Is this a cautionary tale...a prognosis...a diagnosis? In Mitchell's tales, what do humans seem bent on doing to one another...and why? With little left at the end, what, if anything, remains?

3. Why does Mitchell use the structure he does? What might he be hoping to achieve through the six (or twelve) interrelated stories, each based on a specific genre: epistolary, mystery, farce, sci-fi, post-apocolyptic? What is the effect, then, of reversing the tales and going backward?

4. How do each of the tales fit together...forward and backward. Put the pieces of the puzzle together—showing how one story links to another. How, for instance, is Luisa Rey in t connected to Frobisher?

5. What is the significance of the title, "Cloud Atlas"?

6. What are some of the neologisms used in the sci-fic chapters on Sonmi~451—and how do they reflect our use of language today?

7. Which was your favorite tale...and least favorite?

8. What was your experience reading the work: did you find the structure disruptive and confusing...and did you enjoy picking up the linkage between the stories and seeing how it played out by the end?

8. Have you read other dystopian...or post-apocolytpic works? If so, how do they compare with Cloud Atlas?

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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