How Liam Callanan Tricked Me Into Reading His Book



Remember back in mid-October when I said in one of my posts that I was going to read Cloud Atlas before seeing the movie? Well pat me on the back for following through! I rushed over to Amazon that same day and ordered the book. Waiting with bated breath, I finally received the book in the mail a week later. I began reading with frenzy.

I patted myself on the back again soon after for so easily digesting a book that some were describing as confusing and overly complex. After all, there were supposed to be SIX different stories that were somehow separate in era but yet intertwined. Sounds like it should have been as hard to unravel as the wirey mess that is usually how I finally find my earbuds at the bottom of my purse. But here I was doing it! In fact, I was having no problem whatsoever following the story of the Catholic priest, Belk; the intriguing Yup’ik Eskimo, Lily; the drunken Shaman, Ronnie; and the unpredictable and snarling, Gurley. In fact, these characters seemed to be going along with their tale in a very linear and cohesive way. Intertwining? There was no intertwining.  (If you’ve already seen the movie, you know where this is going and that in fact there is neither a Belk nor a Ronnie in the film, but bear with me.)

It wasn’t until I was about a third of the way through the book that I stumbled upon a wordpress blog that was reviewing the book. The writer, Leah from Books Speak Volumes, explained…

What’s more, each story is literally contained in the story that follows it; Zachry hears the “orison” (interview recording) of Sonmi~451, who watches a movie in which Timothy Cavendish reads a book about Luisa Rey, who reads the letters of Robert Frobisher, who finds the diary of Adam Ewing. It’s all very strange and baffling, and it made me wonder whose story I’m in.

Zachary? A diary? What the heck is a Sonmi~451? And I knew exactly the story I was in. What was Leah’s problem?

Something wasn’t adding up.

I got my book. Okay, a different cover than the Cloud Atlas cover all over the internet but that’s okay. They’re both weird and vague and include pictures of clouds. Let’s check the authors.

And THAT is when I discovered that Liam Callanan had tricked me into reading his book The Cloud Atlas, instead of David Mitchell’s book Cloud Atlas. Mr. Callanan published his book the same year as Mitchell! Don’t they crosscheck those kinds of things?? Isn’t there some kind of etiquette?? (Truth be told, I don’t know which book was published earlier in 2004 because my 3 minutes of trying to figure it out on the internet left me with nothing conclusive.)


Once I recovered from the shock of being duped so, I went back to reading this fabulous book. I LOVED it! Eskimo mysticism, Japanese balloon bombs, love in all of its twisted and tangled forms, wolves leading people on esoteric journeys…I couldn’t put it down. The only hard part was revisualizing my leading characters…Tom and Halle had to go.

6 thoughts on “How Liam Callanan Tricked Me Into Reading His Book

  1. that is awesome! years ago, when the internets was young, i thought i ordered ‘things fall apart’ by chinua achebe. what i received was ‘when things fall apart’ by pema chodron. the universe had spoken. i had some healing to do. so grateful for picking up the wrong book…

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