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Mitchell's virtuosic novel presents six narratives that evoke an array of genres, from Melvillean high-seas drama to California noir and dystopian fantasy. There is a naïve clerk on a nineteenth-century Polynesian voyage; an aspiring composer who insinuates himself into the home of a syphilitic genius; a journalist investigating a nuclear plant; a publisher with a dangerous best-seller on his hands; and a cloned human being created for slave labor.Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker
These five stories are bisected and arranged around a sixth, the oral history of a post-apocalyptic island, which forms the heart of the novel. Only after this do the second halves of the stories fall into place, pulling the novel's themes into focus: the ease with which one group enslaves another, and the constant rewriting of the past by those who control the present.
Against such forces, Mitchell's characters reveal a quiet tenacity. When the clerk is told that his life amounts to "no more than one drop in a limitless ocean," he asks, "Yet what is any ocean but a multitude of drops?"
It starts off with The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing, told from the first person perspective, and continues moving at seemingly random time gaps up until An Orison of Somni, set in the future where cloned people have become the slaves of mankind and further again to Sloosha's Crossin an Ev'rythin' After which seems to be set after the fall of the human race and it's apparent degeneration into primitive tribes.