I was utterly charmed by the game=playing of making Luisa Rey fictional. It does not actually follow that her reading of Frobisher's letters makes him and Ewing fictional. Real artifacts may be inserted into fictional narratives. Authors do it all the time. We don't necessarily notice it. It stands out in novels like Ragtime in which fictional characters intermingle with historical ones.
Mitchell, could, of course, have made no characters fictional, made sure that no one's life overlapped anyone else's life, and really pushed the comet birthmark. This would be the approach of a literal-minded author. But Mitchell puckishly declines to play by these rules, setting up complex puzzles to confound and amuse the reader. I was utterly charmed by it, even though I couldn't "solve" it in literal terms. But then I love Thomas Pynchon, too.
: I am sorry to say I didn't enjoy Cloud Atlas
: as much as Ghostwritten.
: The connections, or to use more musical
: terms, the recurring motifs were very
: intriguing. They beg one to reread the book
: and try to sort them all out. I doubt they
: add up to anything, but they could be better
: noticed, better appreciated.
: The problem was that I couldn't really get
: into the stories. I was interested enough in
: the Pacific Journal and the letters of
: Frobisher. But Luisa Rey and Timothy
: Cavendish seemed a bit dull. The Orison of
: Sonmi was by far the best of the first half
: for me, but the pivot chapter, Sloosha's
: crossing, was just dreadful. The second half
: of Sonmi was disappointing, but Timothy
: Cavendish and Luisa Rey picked up a bit.
: Frobisher's letters and the Pacific journal
: went down a bit.
: I was a bit unclear on one connection. The
: journal is read by Frobisher whose letters
: are carried into the next story by Sexsmith
: and read by Luisa Rey who is the main
: character of a novel read by Cavendish, who
: is the main character of a film watched by
: Sonmi. This is the dog that worried the cat
: that killed the rat that ate the malt that
: lay in the house that Jack built. Sonmi is
: Zachary's god or something like. I suppose I
: am to take it that he learns of her as
: people generally learn of their gods,
: through their parents or communities. If I'm
: not mistaken, Zachary is also the name of
: Adam Ewing's son. I don't think I saw
: exactly how Sonmi knew anything about
: Zachary or Sloosha's crossing in the seond
: half either.
: I read that Mitchel said all the main
: characters are reincarnations of the same
: soul. I'm a bit bothered by this because
: there is no pretense of reality to the
: characters. Luisa Rey is the main character
: of a novel. She reads letters of Frobisher
: which establishes him and Adam Ewing as
: fictional. So how can they be reincarnated
: in Cavendish, who is a character in a film,
: though perhaps inspired by real life. There
: is something worth thinking about here.
: About their being fictional.