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cloud atlas

I finished "Cloud Atlas" this weekend. It consists of six stories, each divided in half, and then the halves nested within each other: 1a, 2a, 3a, 4a, 5a, 6a, 6b, 5b, 4b, 3b, 2b, 1b. You could get that structure from a bunch of frame stories--say, somebody in story 1 reads story 2, then a character in story 2 tells story 3, etc., till you get all the way down to the sixth story and then pop back out, finishing in each story. In this case, though, it was the reverse--story number 2 refers to story number 1, and story number 3 to story number 2. The effect is disorienting--1a breaks off in mid-sentence, and 2a starts with totally different characters, in a different style, and doesn't even refer back to number 1 till it's been going on for a while. And you don't actually get any hint that you'll ever see any sequels until you get to 6b and 5b and see the stories start ending. There also other, more mysterious, connections between the stories.

"Cloud Atlas" won't change my life. But I love that kind of formal experimentation, and the stories were engrossing. If I felt like I had the time, I wouldn't mind starting over from the start to find what patterns I missed the first time through.

Work today was slow--I have a ton of work to do to put my current project to rest, and didn't accomplish much of it today. I need to really get the remaining work broken down into little pieces.

It was sunny and warm today. I wore shorts for the first time this year, and rode my bike home.