Why does author David Mitchell change and twist his narration technique in his book Cloud Atlas?

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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Mitchell's Cloud Atlas is an excursion through time and outcomes. Mitchell changes his style as times and settings change so that the narrative is appropriately adjusted. For instance, Mitchell deems that a story set in the future, in which Sonmi is a heroine and Ha-Why is a setting, is not best conveyed in a tone and style suitable for the nineteenth century (1800s), in which Ewing sails aboard a masted rigger ship across the Pacific Ocean. In addition, each of the stories that Mitchell tells is aborted midway and left unresolved. When Mitchell reaches the future, he turns the narrative back on itself (similar to some musical compositions) and revisits each era and story to tell the final outcomes. In this way Mitchell reinforces the physical and mystical connections between the characters, the eras and the stories: Central characters have read about or heard about the next and three--Rey, Frobisher and Sonmi--all have mystically uniting birthmarks shaped like the cosmic element, the comet.

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