I tried. I really did. But I just couldn’t finish ‘Cloud Atlas’ by David Mitchell. The whole concept/plot was just too damn weird.
I’m quite proud of the fact that there are very few books which I have never finished but this one definitely defeated me. ‘Cloud Atlas’ interweaves six different stories which include the 19th century Pacific journal of Adam Ewing, the letters of Robert Frobisher living in Belgium in the 1930s, a thriller set in the 1970s, a comic story about someone who gets trapped in a nursing home, a futuristic dystopian world… and this is the point where I gave up after nearly 200 pages. Each of the first five stories are interrupted half-way through and are then resolved in reverse chronological order (although I didn’t get far enough to read these conclusions). Continue reading
I very rarely give up on a book. Even when I dislike a book, I will usually finish it out of obligation (like ‘The Immoralist’ by André Gide, for a French literature course) or sheer bloody-mindedness just to say I read it (like ‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen) or simply to get people to stop hassling me about it (like ‘The Hobbit’ by J. R. R. Tolkien). But occasionally, life is just too short. Here is a list of the books I have given up on in the last couple of years.
Everything is Illuminated: Jonathan Safran Foer
This was the last book I couldn’t finish a few months ago. To compare the linguistic experimentalism of this book with ‘A Clockwork Orange’ by Anthony Burgess is a sin of the highest order. To try and stretch out an unfunny joke about Ukrainian attempts at the English language over an entire book is completely unforgivable. Sorry, I just didn’t get it.