It seems to me that they come to nearly the same conclusion. Woods makes more of it, but in the end, Gaiman too detects the foul odor of allegory. And both are rather dissatisfied with the book.
However literary it may be, I call it fantasy because of the pixies and dragons and whatnot. I didn't especially feel that I was reading an allegory. If there is allegory, it seems to me subtle enough to be ignored.
I didn't dislike the novel, but I didn't find it very gripping either. Why? Not enough detail? Not enough psychological realism? I don't know. I wish I could say why. Whatever I tried to say now would be influenced by these reviews.
I do disagree with Gaiman's idea that the book stays in your head. I've hardly given it a thought since finishing. Cloud Atlas, whatever problems I have with it, does seem to linger in my mind like a parasitic worm.
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