I've been sitting on this link for a while so please pardon if you seen it at every other site out there, but last night I had a dream and I think Natalie Portman was in it, only briefly but enough so that when I woke up I was reminded of reading this. And if you needed a reason to like Ms. Portman (I mean, please, how can you not like her?), then knowing that she can say the following about David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas should convince you that she ain't your usual movie star and she's much more than the stunning (and I mean stunning)good looks:
This was the present I gave everyone I knew for three years. It's six different stories told in different time periods and genres: One is historical fiction, another is a '70s thriller mystery, the sixth is a postapocalyptic story. It's one of the most beautiful, entertaining, challenging books—something that takes all your attention. I think the stories are meditations on violence, specifically the necessity of violence. The book ends with a beautiful exchange: "…only as you gasp your dying breath shall you understand, your life amounted to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean! Yet what is an ocean but a multitude of drops."