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Mwm

Other unorthodox books like Cloud Atlas?

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Posted (edited)

Title says it all. Any and every kind. Perhaps also list what qualifies them as such.

Edited by Mwm

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What do you mean by "unorthodox".  I haven't read Cloud Atlas so don't really know what it's like.

Maybe these might work.

The People of Paper - Salvador Plascencia

The Raw Shark Texts - Steven Hall (Hall was influenced by Auster and Danielewski so maybe they would be good recs as well.)

Gun, with Occasional Music and Amnesia Moon - Jonathan Lethem  (Most Lethem might work, his earlier work specifically.)

Felix Gilman's work might fall in that zone.

Probably not what you're looking for but good books anyway.

 

 

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Well, here’s a quote from the back of the book: 

Cloud Atlas begins in 1850 with Adam Ewing, an American notary voyaging from the Chatham Isles to his home in California. Along the way, Ewing is befriended by a physician, Dr. Goose, who begins to treat him for a rare species of brain parasite. . . . Abruptly, the action jumps to Belgium in 1931, where Robert Frobisher, a disinherited bisexual composer, contrives his way into the household of an infirm maestro who has a beguiling wife and a nubile daughter. . . . From there we jump to the West Coast in the 1970s and a troubled reporter named Luisa Rey, who stumbles upon a web of corporate greed and murder that threatens to claim her life. . . . And onward, with dazzling virtuosity, to an inglorious present-day England; to a Korean superstate of the near future where neocapitalism has run amok; and, finally, to a postapocalyptic Iron Age Hawaii in the last days of history.

But the story doesn’t end even there. The narrative then boomerangs back through centuries and space, returning by the same route, in reverse, to its starting point. Along the way, Mitchell reveals how his disparate characters connect, how their fates intertwine, and how their souls drift across time like clouds across the sky.

As wild as a videogame, as mysterious as a Zen koan, Cloud Atlas is an unforgettable tour de force that, like its incomparable author, has transcended its cult classic status to become a worldwide phenomenon.

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Based on that, looking back on it now, basically what I mean is an extremely unique narrative.

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House of Leaves possibly, if you’re talking about weird structures. They don’t come weirder than House of Leaves.

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1 minute ago, DaveSumm said:

House of Leaves possibly, if you’re talking about weird structures. They don’t come weirder than House of Leaves.

That I am...

I will definitely check it out.

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Have you read Mitchell's other works?  I know the The Bone Clocks and Slade House have the same style (and universe - although I think that all of his books occur in the same world).

You might also enjoy Kim Stanley Robinson's The Years of Rice and Salt and Chris Wooding's The Fade.

And I would definitely recommend Claire North's The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

 

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4 hours ago, Mwm said:

Based on that, looking back on it now, basically what I mean is an extremely unique narrative.

Pynchon sounds like he's right in your wheelhouse.

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Having discussed in the other topic that Vellum and Ink weren't what you were looking for, in response to this topic they're exactly what you're looking for.


Also try Nick Harkaway's Gnomon.

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Cloud Atlas is one of my favourite books. Some of the things that make it unorthodox aren't that uncommon - the loosely connected plotlines that could almost be independent stories and the non-linear narrative do show up reasonably often. I think the most distinctive thing about it might be that the way that each of the six stories is in a different genre and in a different writing style, and Mitchell somehow still manages to make it feel like a cohesive novel. There may well be other books out there which do something similar but I've not read any of them.

59 minutes ago, RedEyedGhost said:

And I would definitely recommend Claire North's The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August.

There is something about North's work (also in Touch and The Sudden Appearance of Hope) that does remind me a bit of Mitchell's work - although maybe it's more reminiscent of The Bone Clocks than Cloud Atlas.

Other thoughts:

Keith Roberts' Pavane is another mosaic novel where the individual stories are spread over several decades, in this case set in an alternate history England several centuries after the Spanish Armada defeated the English.

Iain M. Banks often liked non-linear narratives, particularly in Use of Weapons and Feersum Endjinn - the latter having one section written phonetically a bit like Zachry's story in Cloud Atlas

Ian McDonald's Brasyl has a similar past/present/future structure, I liked a lot of things about the book although the ending was disappointing. River of Gods is better, although perhaps a bit more orthodox.

Roger Zelazny definitely had a fondness for unorthodoxy, Lord of Light is his masterpiece, while Creatures of Light and Darkness might be the more unorthodox.

 

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On 6/24/2018 at 8:31 AM, williamjm said:

I think the most distinctive thing about it might be that the way that each of the six stories is in a different genre and in a different writing style

Perhaps If on a Winter's Night a Traveller would be worth trying?

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Milorad Pavic's Dictionary of the Khazars is a lexicon novel broken into three parts: Christian, Jewish and Muslim versions with various fictitious entries about the historic, semi-nomadic Khazar people and their conversion to one of the Abrahamic religions. Really quite an interesting and unique read.

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11 hours ago, felice said:

Perhaps If on a Winter's Night a Traveller would be worth trying?

Yep. Was about to say this.

Gnomon and The Fade are also great recs.

I will keep my eye on this thread as I also enjoy a non-linear narrative.

 

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, felice said:

Perhaps If on a Winter's Night a Traveller would be worth trying?

A third vote for If On A Winter's Night...  That was the first book that came to mind when I read the question. :)

It's years since I last read it, and this has given me the itch to go back and revisit it!

Edited by FunFalconryFacts

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On 6/23/2018 at 10:54 PM, Mwm said:

Based on that, looking back on it now, basically what I mean is an extremely unique narrative.

The most out-there book I've read was Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut (all of his books are pretty weird but this one stands alone). I've never read Cloud Atlas though, so I'm not sure how similar they are beyond that fact.

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Dan Simmons' Hyperion contains several story lines that could be read independently, though it doesn't have the Mitchell innovation of different genres/writing styles. It's more Canterbury Tales than Cloud Atlas. 

Storyland by Catherine McKinnon is a straight-up homage (rip-off?) of Cloud Atlas, but set in Australia. 

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I did a little google search on unique novels and now I've added Julio Cortazor's Hopscotch to my TBR list.

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On 6/26/2018 at 3:19 AM, Darth Richard II said:

The Bible.

Never read it. Could you give me a flavour (no spoilers)?

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