The good news is that I got to do a bit of that kind of reading week before last. I’d been stalling on reading David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, in large part because I wanted to enjoy it, to allow myself to experience it as a novel rather than as a piece of work. And I did; the nested dolls of the novel’s various narratives not only had me curled up on the bed reading during hours when I ought to have been doing other stuff, but also occupied my thoughts during those odd hours of the morning when I couldn’t sleep. There are points, particularly in the last third, at which I found its narration to be a bit too on the nose, making darned sure that the reader wasn’t going to miss the point, but on the other hand, many of the connections among its narratives and characters are quite subtle. And the novel’s structure raises some interesting questions about the nature of narrative diegesis itself, forcing the reader to think about what kinds of stories can fit into other kinds of stories, and what kinds can’t, and why.
The bad news is that I tore through the novel with something of the speed with which I used to read as a kid, and so the novel ended much too quickly. And, alas, that was the only novel I had with me; two others were in That Box. So I’m trying to read a little French fiction, but there’s no way I’m making that diegetic escape in another language. At least not yet.