Study Guide

Cloud Atlas Truth

By David Mitchell


Spin-doctors can make anything seem true. Cloud Atlas is all about how far some people will go for the truth (or at least, what's true for them), whether it be keeping others from the truth, or revealing the truth to the world. The people who are the best at this (or the worst, depending on your perspective) are the ones who do it so well you never know you've been spun. Spin a lie too quickly, and people get dizzy. You have to ease people into it, the same way you ease lobsters into boiling water.

While you can never be certain what the true truth is, one thing is for sure: the truth always has consequences.

Questions About Truth

  1. Both Luisa Rey and Sonmi-451 are fighting for the truth. What are the consequences of each journey?
  2. What does Meronym mean when she talks about the "true true"?
  3. With enough money, can a person or a corporation—like Seaboard Corp.—change the truth?

Chew on This

A more accurate definition of truth might be "a very strong opinion." For example, all the people of the Nine Valleys believe that Sonmi is their god. This is totally true to them, even though we know otherwise.

No stories are true. Every storyteller has an agenda and wants to lead you to believing something. All the narrators in Cloud Atlas, and David Mitchell himself, are very persuasive, but it doesn't necessarily mean they tell the truth.