18 May 2007

Cloud 9

I'm about to begin the fourth story in Cloud Atlas ("The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish") and have decided to post some random notes from my reading. I'm tickled by the fact that my first-time experiences with such lauded authors (Barth, Markson) are turning into these love-fests. I'm not gushing because everyone else says they're great (although they are). I'm gushing because I'm finding so much to enjoy, appreciate, and admire in the work of contemporary writers. Fiction is alive and well, folks (as if there were really any doubt). You just have to know where to look. And it's no coincidence that I first heard of Markson and Mitchell via litblogs. I know I'm missing out on so many more wonderful books, but thank God I've at least made it this far. For such remarkable recommendations (and myriad other reasons), litblogs will always have my undying gratitude and devotion.

Ok. So I've got a borrowed copy and can't write in it, but the post-its are getting filled up too fast too soon. To whit:
  • I can't help but think that the reference to Psalm 81:7 means more than Ewing thinks it does ("the secret place of thunder"). It's also on this page that that he encounters more humming--this time of the insect variety, as opposed to the swarm of natives on p. 6. Language and non-language both equal sound and communication. Looking forward to see where this theme goes.
  • p. 21--J.E.'s footnote. Suspicions as to this individual's identity confirmed (?) in the next section (Frobisher's).
  • Although Ewing is well-intentioned and his journal is interesting in a Mysterious Island, Sea-Wolf sense, I couldn't get away from the creepiness of his "Ailment" and the fact that the ship is called "Prophetess."
  • Javier and Dr. Moses have got to be related.
  • Is locker No909 a reference to Mitchell's previous novel (Number9Dream)?
  • I'm intrigued by the judgements of later readers on former writers: Frobisher's estimation of Dr. Goose and Ewing's supposed gullibilty, and Luisa's take on Sixsmith's portrayal in Frobisher's letters. But I love reading the actual "documents" prior to their discovery. I think this is the first time I've seen this (as opposed to discovery and then inclusion, as in most novels). I enjoy making my own judgments on the characters in their writing before I encounter the judgments of later readers--it makes the story that much more complex.
  • I think that the "birthmark" issue is the same sort of thing as Ewing's "Ailment" somehow...
  • Funny that Luisa's mom lives in Ewingville. Love how intentional all these details are.
Also very happy to discover that El atlas de las nubes exists, translated by Víctor Úbeda. There is no way I'm keeping this one to myself.

1 comment:

Matthew Tiffany said...

I have a question, but cannot locate an e-mail address - mine is condalmo, gmail -