Study Guide

Cloud Atlas Hotels

By David Mitchell


No-Tell Motels

If we were to do a Trip Advisor review for the hotels in Cloud Atlas, we'd have to give them about one and a half stars. Pros: mostly clean, quiet, and the bellboys are ready to hop into bed with you (if you're into that sort of thing). Cons: bad management, and people seem to die in them a lot.

So, the pros. Aside from Adam Ewing, no one actually complains about the hotels they're staying at. Since the 19th-century hospitality industry just wasn't what it is today, we'll forgive that one as an outlier. Plus, the easy bellboy aboard the Kentish Queen (which is a boat, but with bed, so it's a hotel on the water) takes a roll in the hay instead of a tip from Robert Frobisher.

But, oh, the cons. Mr. Walker, proprietor of the Musket, the inn where Adam Ewing stays, rents out Ewing's room to a prostitute when he's not in it. Talk about bad management. In Luisa Rey's time, the manager is totally put out by having to steam clean the blood out of the carpets after Rufus Sixsmith is assassinated. How rude. Couldn't he have put down some newspapers first? At least Frobisher has the decency to kill himself in the bathtub. No muss, no fuss.

Every single character stays in a hotel except Zachry—but that's just because hotels don't exist in his time period. His sleeping in the old observatory is sort of like sleeping in a hotel, and you know what? There's a dead guy there, too. So what's the deal with all the bad hotels? Does David Mitchell own stock in Winnebago, or is staying in a bad hotel a common experience that almost everyone in life experiences?