Kodak of Cloud Atlas

Book: Cloud Atlas

Chapter: The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish

Scene: T. Cavendish, publisher, is at a bar with author Dermot Hoggins, when Hoggins, drunk and doleful, sees Felix Finch, a critic who had savaged Higgins’ fictional memoir. Hoggins sidles up alongside Finch, grabs him by his lapels, and tosses him over the 12-story balcony railing. Murderer. What does he do next? He saunters over to a table and…

Sentence: “He selected a Belgian cracker adorned with Biscay anchovies and parsley drizzled with sesame oil.”

Is it just me, or is that a perfect ruddy sentence? I’ll have you know that I’ve tried memorizing it—without success. Probably because I’ve never tasted a Biscay anchovie. Still, what a delectable sentence!

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3 Responses to Kodak of Cloud Atlas

  1. Ha, “ruddy”? Over here downunder “ruddy” is (was, anyhow) a negative word? What does it mean to you?

    • Kevin Neilson says:

      I borrow my usage from Mitchell himself, as he deploys it in the Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish, one of the six vignettes in Cloud Atlas. In that section, the word more or less means “damn” or “bloody” or “fucking,” to wit — “You’re breaking the ruddy Anti-Incarcerration Act,” or “I will talk to you how I ruddy well like,” or my personal favorite “You cruddy ruddy rugger-bugger yob!” Yes, yob. Not job. Many cheers. K

  2. Yep, that’s how we’d use it too. And, we use “yob” as well – or “yobbo” (often in the sense of your “redneck”, but often also with a tinge of affection). We Aussies tend not to take a lot seriously so even our negative terms are often used light-heartedly. That’s partly our English heritage!

    I have read Cloud Atlas but several years ago … I don’t at all recollect Biscay anchovies!

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