Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Cloud Atlas

Today was one of those days when I just couldn't be bothered to go to work. As I said to DF in the morning, "Here I am (hand at chin level), when I know what I am doing, here I am (hand at stomach level), most days of my life, and today, I am the floor."

I pushed myself to get out of bed though, and I dressed and I dutifully ate my breakfast (perspiring gently in the Delhi summer and wondering if I should start wearing sunglasses at home) while looking around for something to read on the way to work.

Usually, my breakfast read is the newspaper, but ever since we had a chik installed, we're lucky if we get the paper 3 days a week. Anyway! I figured I may as well start on Cloud Atlas because I had begun reading it the previous night, and it was getting unputdownable.

I sat on the ratty broken sofa for five hours at a stretch, prolonging my breakfast and reading Cloud Atlas and thinking to myself, "who needs to go to work when I can learn from this book right here!"
I got up when the battery on my phone died, and ventured inside to lie on the bed and finish the book, and I did.

And wow.

And because I am inarticulate and now faced with the consequences of unintended bunking, I haven't the time to review it, but I wanted to point you to this:

At the Cloud Atlas press conference, Lana Wachowski said, “We all felt the book affects your brain. You read it and your brain no longer splits it up into six stories. Your brain begins making connections itself.” The directors line up the climaxes of the many stories like mountaintops in a row so that the viewer can see the same struggle for freedom over the great expanse of time. And in each era, authority figures — whether slave traders or futuristic city cops — say “There is a natural order to the world.”

And in each climax there is a hero, male or female, who knows this to be a lie. The effect on the audience in seeing such vastly different societies from the 19th century’s racial slavery to the genetic clone slavery of the 22nd century is the realization that no natural order exists. Every society is a web of power and ideology woven together that ensnares the bodies of those living in them. What is natural is the desire to embody the repressed truth and live it. 


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