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Reading the clouds

A chat with the Thai translator of David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas

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As Cloud Atlas the movie hits Thai cinemas, Cloud Atlas the book has been brought back under the spotlight. David Mitchell's 2004 novel is a virtuoso work of six loosely intertwining episodes, spanning from the 18th century Pacific voyages to the futuristic megalopolis of Neo-Seoul. 

Tom Hanks and Halle Berry are among a large cast of actors in the film adaptation of the book.

Each episode, which forms a palimpsest as well as a parabolic arc of time and themes when put together, is written in different literary styles, with references to various writing genres and devices, and Mitchell wires up the English language to jolt our cerebral perception by inventing words and twisting existing ones to expand their connotations and implications (for instance, Neo-Seoul is meant to evoke "neo-soul", or new soul, while in one chapter, "sony" is a generic word used to refer to all electrical appliances).

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