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Characters

Meet the Cast

Adam Ewing

Time May Change Him, But He Can't Change TimeAdam Ewing is the first character we meet, and despite being absent for nine-elevenths of the book, he undergoes the most change out of all six main cha...

Dr. Henry Goose

Who Knew Gooses Could Quack?Against his better judgment, Adam Ewing becomes friends with the smarmy, charismatic, swindling quack Dr. Henry Goose. Ewing is determined to see the best in people and...

Autua

Freedom FighterAlthough we don't see too much of Autua compared to other characters in Adam Ewing's journal, he has, perhaps, the largest impact on Ewing's life.After making eye contact with Ewing...

The Wagstaffs

Or Should It Be Wagstaves?Adam Ewing meets Mr. Wagstaff in Bethlehem Bay, near the end of his journey. Even by 19th-century standards, this family is a hot mess. Mr. Wagstaff pretty much hates it i...

Giles Horrox, Preacher

That Other Carpenter/Savior Giles Horrox is the preacher/mayor/dictator with a Jesus complex of Bethlehem Bay. His life's work is to convert the pagan savages to Christianity, with a little bit of...

Dwellers of Ocean Bay

Bottom DwellersOcean Bay is a snarling pit of godless heathens... or at least it is to Adam Ewing. First, he has to deal with the cesspool that is the Musket, a tavern owned by Mr. Walker that turn...

Crew of The Prophetess

Ship of ToolsWhile not technically a slave ship, you'd be forgiven if you mistook the Prophetess for one at first glance. Run by two scurrilous scalawags, Captain Molyneux and first mate Mr. Boerha...

Robert Frobisher

Bittersweet SymphonyRobert Frobisher is a tragic, romantic, bisexual composer, and also the author of the "Letters from Zedelghem" that comprise Parts 2 and 10 of Cloud Atlas. He's maybe the most c...

Rufus Sixsmith

Six ShooterAll of Robert Frobisher's letters are addressed "Dear Sixsmith," to which we respond, "What's a Sixsmith?" It turns out Rufus Sixsmith is Robert Frobisher's friend, lover, and enabler. W...

Vyvyan Ayrs

The Ayrs AffairThis crusty old beast was once a famed composer, but by the time Frobisher takes on an apprenticeship with him, he hasn't composed in over ten years. Ayrs is plagued with both "music...

Jocasta van Outryve de Crommelynck

Riding LessonsJocasta is Vyvyan Ayrs's wife (she kept her own name; not enough vowels in his, we guess...). She is not only having an affair with young Frobisher, but she's also rumored to have had...

Eva

Forbidden FruitThe daughter of Ayrs and Jocasta, Eva is, as Frobisher observes, "the crowning glory of six centuries' breeding" (2.2.9). This is a pretty apt description, seeing how Ayrs and Jocast...

Morty Dhondt

Dhondt Worry Morty and Mr. Dhondt are two of Ayrs's friends. Although their main purpose seems to be to drive the plot (almost literally—both of their major scenes involve them driving Frobisher...

Otto Jansch

Otto ManShady book dealer Otto Jansch is described by Robert Frobisher as a "stingy Jew" (2.6.5) and a "warty old Shylock" (2.6.4), referencing the iconic character from Shakespeare's Merchant of V...

The van de Veldes

All of Them Had Empty Heads, Like Their Mother This giant family with eyes on Frobisher is a bit of much-needed comic relief. They're not intending to be funny, but Frobisher's observations about h...

Other Visitors to Zedelghem

Pomp and CircumstanceWhile at Zedelghem, Frobisher is all but locked away from the outside world. For a couple of long stretches, his only contact with people outside of Zedelghem comes from the vi...

Zedelghem Servants

Upstairs, DownstairsZedelghem is like a Belgian Downton Abbey, but with only the upstairs scenes. The servants—Hendrick and Mrs. Willems, among others—never get a line of direct dialog. They're...

Luisa Rey

Power of the PressEven though she's only twenty-six years old, Luisa Rey is a timeless hero: she's an intrepid journalist fighting corporate greed. She's timeless because we always need a hero, and...

Megan Sixsmith

Deus ex Machinaloha Megan is Rufus Sixsmith's favorite (and maybe only) niece. They see movies and talk about science together. She's like the daughter he never had. She's also one of many deus ex...

Isaac Sachs

Wise Man Isaac Caspar Sachs meets Luisa Rey by accident (or is it fate?) when she sneaks into Dr. Sixsmith's office and Sachs just happens to be raiding the place. Like Sixsmith, Sachs is suffering...

Javier Gomez

El NiñoJust as Megan is like the daughter Rufus Sixsmith never had, Javier is like the son Luisa never had. Her eleven-year-old neighbor jumps the balconies between their apartments and lets himse...

Joe Napier

Putting the Con- in ConscienceThe First Luisa Rey mystery is all about conscience, and Joe Napier puts this explicitly into words, wondering if "his conscience [has] got an off switch?" (3.10.13)....

Bill Smoke

Smoke MonsterYikes. If there's one character of pure evil in Cloud Atlas, it's Bill Smoke. He's a cartoonish villain straight out of the pages of bad suspense fiction—which The First Luisa Rey My...

Fay Li

They Call Her Mister LiFay Li is the PR Rep for Seaboard. While she may work for them, she's also working against them. Like Luisa, she wants the Sixsmith report so she can expose the faults in the...

Hester van Zandt and Margo Roker

Poetic License Hester van Zandt is the big momma of the group of people protesting the Swannekke reactor. She acts as a guiding star for Luisa—which is appropriate, given that the name Hester mea...

Milton

Spare Some ChangeMilton, Hester van Zandt's right-hand man, is a two-faced sneak. He eavesdrops on Luisa's conversation with Hester and then calls Joe Napier to tell him that Luisa is still alive...

Janice from Esphigmenou, Utah

The Kindness of StrangersJanice from Esphigmenou, Utah, is such an insignificant character that we'd be tempted to ignore her, were she not one of the few kind-hearted people in the book. Janice fr...

Other Seaboard Employees

Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?Seaboard Corp. might as well be run by a den of snakes. There's not a single virtuous man on its board of directors. CEO Alberto Grimaldi is a power-hungry psychopath w...

Spyglass Magazine Staff

All the News That Isn't Fit to PrintThe Spyglass magazine staff provides a little journalistic humor to Luisa's story. From Roland Jakes's Terror in Sewerland story about piranhas living under the...

Timothy Cavendish

Senior PortraitIf Luisa Rey is a reincarnation of Robert Frobisher, then Timothy Cavendish might just be the cosmically rearranged atoms of Vyvyan Ayrs. Cavendish is both creatively and physically...

Ernie Blacksmith and Veronica Costello

No Country for Old Men Timothy Cavendish is a man who seems accustomed to getting what he wants. However, when what he wants is outside of Aurora House, his usual tricks aren't going to cut it. Ent...

Johns Hotchkiss

An Eye for an Eye... Johns Hotchkiss is a horrible son, and he's Timothy Cavendish's ticket out of Aurora House. This guy only visits his dementia-addled mother because he wants to know where she b...

The Hoggins Brothers

Hoggs Gone Wild It seems like The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish starts with Dermot Hoggins, the author of Knuckle Sandwich, "a well-written, gutsy fictional memoir" (4.1.50). After Dermot thr...

Denholme and Georgette

Brotherly Love We get the feeling that Cavendish has asked his brother, Denholme, for favors many times before, if only because when he answers his brother's phone call, Denholme says, "Oh, Satan's...

Mrs. Latham

Office Manager Mrs. Latham is the loyal secretary and bookkeeper for Cavendish Publications. In other words, she runs the place. Between Cavendish and Mrs. Latham, it's the Mrs. who's got all the m...

Sir Felix Finch

Fly Away, Little BirdieIn Cloud Atlas, people with bird names are jerks. Adam Ewing has Dr. Goose. Frobisher mentions a Dr. Egret, "a quack whom I didn't half-suspect of plotting to do me in as exp...

Nurse Noakes

The Noakes from the Black LagoonNurse Noakes gives One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest's Nurse Ratched a run for her money. Noakes makes the nursing home experience as miserable as possible for anyone...

Other Aurora House Staff and Residents

These Cuckoos Fell Out of the Nest Most of the other staff and residents of Aurora House are flat, incidental characters. Mrs. Judd plays good cop to her sister Nurse Noakes's bad cop. Mr. Withers...

Sonmi-451

Where are We? When are We?Sonmi-451 is Cloud Atlas's most fascinating, most iconic, and most didactic character. She talks. A lot. In fact, her sections are entirely dialogue—set up as a last int...

Hae-Joo Im

Hae-Joo, Don't Make It Bad, Take a Sad Sonmi and Make Her Better Hae-Joo is the Unionman who shows Sonmi what it means to be alive. She might know about life from having her nose in almost every bo...

Boom-Sook Kim

This Dude SooksBoom-Sook Kim is the graduate student Sonmi is forced to stay with after she's taken from Papa Song's. If you think your roommate is bad, be glad you don't live with Boom-Sook. Be gl...

Yoona-939

Knowledge of Good and Evil Yoona-939 ascended before Sonmi-451 and guided her out of ignorance into a world of knowledge. She shares all sorts of secrets with Sonmi, from pureblood technology to pi...

Wing-027

Wing Man Wing-027 is another example of how poorly fabricants are treated in Nea So Copros. Described as "a pylonic man, over three meters tall and dressed in an orange zip suit" (5.1.149), Wing-02...

The Archivist

Recording Her-Story The Archivist exists to give Sonmi someone to bounce her ideas off of. He doesn't even have a name, or much of a personality. He's just a nameless citizen of Unanimity. Occasion...

Seer Rhee

Middle ManagementSeer Rhee is Sonmi's boss, for lack of a better word. By boss, we mean "shift leader at McDonald's," since that's pretty much what Papa Song's is—the McDonald's of the future, co...

Chang

The E is Silent (and Invisible)Union's mysterious driver, Chang, doesn't have much of a personality. He shows up, picks up Sonmi, and drives her to another location. That's about it. Nothing else t...

Dr. Aloi Mephi

Hey, Sonmi Just Met Him, and This is Crazy! Here's His Number... Call Him Mephi Dr. Mephi is behind Sonmi's release from Papa Song's. He takes her to Taemosan University and puts her in the care (w...

An-Kor Apis

Cause and EffectWhile on the run with Hae-Joo, Sonmi talks with An-Kor Apis of Union twice. The first time, he's disguised as a holographic carp. He tells Sonmi that he hopes "together, we may chan...

The Abbess

Aiding and Abbessing It's doubtful that the Abbess in Sonmi's time and the Abbess in Zachry's time are the same person, but it's worth mentioning that someone with the title of Abbess appears in bo...

Seer Kwon

Pros and Kwons Seer Kwon is the despicable man Sonmi sees throwing a living fabricant off a bridge. His behavior is reminiscent of the kind of slave owners who wantonly abused and killed without a...

Zachry Bailey

Won't You Come Home, Zach Bailey?Although many of Cloud Atlas's characters remind us of other characters in other timelines (there's that whole reincarnation thing), Zachry Bailey is unlike anyone...

Meronym

Going Undercover Back in the Luisa Rey section, when Luisa is doing research on Swannekke, Fay Li makes an interesting choice of words. "Miss Rey is here […] to write an article on Swannekke anth...

Villagers of the Nine Valleys

If They Wore Shirts, They'd Be RedAside from Zachry and Meronym, we don't get to know the other villagers of the Nine Valleys all that much. They have goofy names (Rusty Volvo and F'kugly being two...

Duophysite

Chat Roulette Duophysite must mean "info dump" in Meronym's language, because that's pretty much all he does.When Zachry rifles through Meronym's stuff and finds her orison, here comes Duophysite t...
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