In style, prose and structure, CloudAtlas is profound; asking life’s most essential questions without smothering the stories. A Prep student and I are debating whether this is our best-book-of-all-time selection.
The high point of the marathon was, The Reason I Jump; The Inner Voice of a 13 Year Old Boy with Autism. Mitchell co-translated The Reason I Jump and wrote a compelling introduction that sets the stage for Naoki Higashida to tell his story. Emotional and exceptionally truthful, Naoki’s message is straightforward, “don’t give up on us. Please keep battling alongside us.”
Higashida explains, “From your point of view, the world of autism must look like a deeply mysterious place.” The Reason I Jump uprooted my previous model of life on the autistic spectrum. The essence of Higashida’s world - accepting the mantle of otherness, and revealing its emotional highs and lows- hit a reset button for me. I don’t know what the result will be, but this book not only made me think deeply, but differently. Higashida said, “once you know the other person’s inner self, both of you can be that much closer.”
The Bone Clocks is Mitchell’s newest novel. The plot winds around and through the life the main character, Holly Sykes. The supporting characters are flawed; self-absorbed, snarky, down-on-their-luck, or drowning in grief, yet they are revealed so fully that I adjusted my initial resistance and enjoyed their stories. There is an other-world plot to the story, but I won’t spoil it for you.
It was a marathon of excellent writing, fresh and unpredictable – completely enjoyable. And now, a quest for the next book(s). Any suggestions?