I’m still trucking along with the book and strangely craving some delicious, magical Papa Song’s (inside joke!), but work/life/etcetera has meant not much time to write lately.
* CONTAINS SPOILERS
SECTION 3: HALF-LIVES: THE FIRST LUISA REY MYSTERY
It’s now the 1970s and we meet Rufus Sixsmith, an old scientist caught in the cover-up of a faulty nuclear reactor by an organization called Seaboard. Sixsmith gets trapped in an elevator with Luisa Rey, a journalist who writes for a gossip magazine. He asks Luisa how far she would go to protect a source for a story, but doesn’t confide in her. The next day Luisa gets permission from her editors to investigate Seaboard. She doesn’t have much trouble snooping around.
♦ I found it difficult to see Frobisher’s willing accomplice in the Zedelghem letters and the grandfatherly scientist as the same person. But forty years is a long time! The meeting between Sixsmith and Luisa sets into motion a pretty thrilling storyline that I enjoyed.
♦ I was surprised Luisa is given so much access to Seaboard’s facilities. They practically roll out the red carpet for her even though it’s fairly obvious she’s looking for dirt.
Sixsmith locks up a copy of a damning report and mails the key to Luisa. He hides in a hotel, but it doesn’t take long for Seaboard’s assassin to track him down. Then Isaac Sachs, a cute Seaboard scientist Luisa has befriended decides to give his copy of the Sixsmith report to her. She finds the report hidden in her car just in time to get into a car chase with the Seaboard assassin who rudely rams her car off the road.
♦ Cliffhanger! This has been the best section so far because of the mystery and action. I like Luisa Rey’s character because she is smart and level-headed. She also has a soft, motherly side that we witness when she allows a young boy possibly being abused to stay in her apartment.
SECTION 4: THE GHASTLY ORDEAL OF TIMOTHY CAVENDISH
Timothy Cavendish manages a vanity publishing company. His only client author, Dermot Hoggins kills a popular literary critic at a party and goes to jail. When the book Hoggins wrote becomes a best seller, his thug brothers come looking for Cavendish and the cash he’s been raking in. Unable to pay, Cavendish is offered a place to hide by his brother. And so begins a long journey full of bizarre encounters with strangers, malfunctioning public transportation and playing peeping tom with an ex until Cavendish arrives at Aurora House. Only he doesn’t know he’s never meant to leave.
♦ At first Cavendish annoyed me because he always seemed to be getting into trouble and going off on a tangent. But then I wondered if this was because he’s an older gentleman and lacking in the mental agility department (yes, I’m being polite). Maybe he deserved more sympathy on my part.
♦ When Cavendish finds himself tricked into signing his life away to Aurora House, I wanted him to fight back and blaze out of that place. What a horrific situation to be stuck in! Perhaps the theme of this section has something to do with how we perceive and treat the elderly? … and unreliable narrators? … and … and?
What did you think of Sections 3 & 4 of Cloud Atlas? I’m currently reading Section 6 of the book and hope to post again soon.