The Cloud Atlas (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Random House Publishing Group, Feb 3, 2004 - Fiction - 357 pages
123 Reviews
Set against the magnificent backdrop of Alaska in the waning days of World War II, The Cloud Atlas is an enthralling debut novel, a story of adventure and awakening—and of a young soldier who came to Alaska on an extraordinary, top-secret mission…and found a world that would haunt him forever.

Drifting through the night, whisper-quiet, they were the most sublime manifestations of a desperate enemy: Japanese balloon bombs. Made of rice paper, at once ingenious and deadly, they sailed thousands of miles across the Pacific...and once they started landing, the U.S. scrambled teams to find and defuse them, and then keep them secret from an already anxious public. Eighteen-year-old Louis Belk was one of those men. Dispatched to the Alaskan frontier, young Sergeant Belk was better trained in bomb disposal than in keeping secrets. And the mysteries surrounding his mission only increased when he met his superior officer—a brutal veteran OSS spy hunter who knew all too well what the balloons could do—and Lily, a Yup’ik Eskimo woman who claimed she could see the future.

Louis’s superior ushers him into a world of dark secrets; Lily introduces Louis to an equally disorienting world of spirits—and desire. But the world that finally tests them all is Alaska, whose vastness cloaks mysteries that only become more frightening as they unravel. Chasing after the ghostly floating weapons, Louis embarks upon an adventure that will lead him deep into the tundra. There, on the edge of the endless wilderness, he will make a discovery and a choice that will change the course of his life.

At once a heart-quickening mystery and a unique love story, The Cloud Atlas is also a haunting, lyrical rendering of a little-known chapter in history. Brilliantly imagined, beautifully told, this is storytelling at its very best.


From the Hardcover edition.
  

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User ratings

5 stars
15
4 stars
40
3 stars
38
2 stars
18
1 star
12

Interesting idea but I got tangled in the writing. - Goodreads
I was not satisfied with the ending much. - Goodreads
Great Alaskan imagery and culture. - Goodreads
The writing was pretty good. - Goodreads
His writing is wonderful. - Goodreads
I'll have to do some research on it. - Goodreads

Review: The Cloud Atlas

User Review  - Wendy Bousfield - Goodreads

The plot and imagery of Callanan's CLOUD ATLAS come from a little known weapon: toward the end of World War II, the Japanese launched thousands incendiary balloons toward Alaska and the US west coast ... Read full review

Review: The Cloud Atlas

User Review  - Mckinley - Goodreads

Interesting idea but I got tangled in the writing. Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
5
Section 2
26
Section 3
40
Section 4
54
Section 5
66
Section 6
78
Section 7
94
Section 8
114
Section 13
219
Section 14
231
Section 15
249
Section 16
268
Section 17
286
Section 18
303
Section 19
321
Section 20
334

Section 9
137
Section 10
161
Section 11
184
Section 12
203
Section 21
347
Section 22
358
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

Liam Callanan teaches creative writing at Georgetown University and frequently appears on NPR’s Morning Edition and in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and a number of other publications. This is his first novel.


From the Hardcover edition.

Bibliographic information