Cloud Atlas: Characters
Adam is a young notary whose home is San Francisco. He is an English gentleman and detests cruelty and violence. Before Autua saves him, he is tolerant of darker-skinned races, but still believes whites to be inherently superior. He trusts Dr. Henry Goose without reserve, because he is a white Englishman, while he distrusts Autua, the Moriori stowaway in his cabin. In the end, however, Henry betrays him and Autua saves him. He decides to join the Abolitionist movement because he believes that a single action can affect the flow of the future.
Doctor Henry Goose
An eccentric Englishman, Henry is a surgeon by trade. He befriends Adam in New South Whales and joins him on the Prophetess. He helps Adam with his mysterious ailment and doesn’t charge for his services. When they talk to Preacher Horrox about his hierarchy of races, Henry says he believes that the white man ended up on top because of advanced weaponry and love of material objects. However, his character is revealed to be false when he poisons Adam, almost killing him.
An escaped Moriori slave. He first sees Adam when he is being punished for trying to escape and makes direct eye contact with him. When he stows away on the ship, he gets Adam to convince the captain to let him stay and work. Autua doesn’t believe in prejudice or slavery, and even though Adam is white they become friends. When Adam becomes sick, Autua saves his life and takes him to an infirmary to nurse him back to health.
A young Englishman in his early twenties. He travels to Belgium, to the house of Vyvyan Arys to become his apprentice. He writes to his friend Sixsmith frequently, and it is later revealed that Sixsmith and he were lovers. He is a composer with exceptional musical talent, and during his stay with Arys he begins developing his own music. He falls in love with Arys’s daughter, who turns him down. Robert has a comet-shaped birthmark on his shoulderblade. After breaking off his apprenticeship with Arys, he rents a hotel room and writes the Cloud Atlas Sextet. It is his final masterpiece, and he believes he will accomplish nothing greater in life so he commits suicide knowing he will be reincarnated.
A famous musician who accepts Robert Frobisher under his tutelage. An old man, and sickly, his entire life has been devoted to music. Having Robert around keeps him animated and active working on his music. He comes to Robert with a tune he remembered in a dream. The dream took place in a frightening cafe, where all the waitresses had the same face. Eventually, he begins plagiarizing off of Robert’s work, and so Robert leaves.
A young woman who writes for a gossip magazine. Her real aim, however, is to follow in her father’s footsteps to become an investigative journalist. She meets Rufus Sixsmith in an elevator and begins investigating the Seaboard Corporation. Soon, Seaboard sees her as a threat and sends an assassin to kill her. She is willing to risk her life to bring the truth of the company’s conspiracy out into the open. In the end, she accomplishes her goal. Luisa has a comet-shaped scar on her shoulder-blade.
The same Sixsmith in Robert’s letters; Robert was Rufus’s only love. He is an old man of 66 when he meets Luisa and feels an immediate connection to her. He wrote a report detailing the dangers of the atomic reactor Seaboard wants to activate. Seaboard tried to buy him off not to tell anyone the truth, but he decided to run instead. He planned on taking down Seaboard from a safe location, but was assassinated before he got there.
Works for Seaboard Incorporated, but doesn’t want Luisa Rey to get involved. Luisa’s father saved Joe’s life from a grenade, losing his own eye in the process, and Joe still has scars to prove it. He tries to save Luisa by warning her about the assassin, but Luisa doesn’t heed his advice. Joe is retired early, and instead of going quietly to his log cabin, decides to help save Luisa. His final act is to shoot her would-be assassin.
Owns a small book-publishing company that produced a big seller. Tim owed people money, an when his book became a hit they came calling. Turning to his brother for help, Tim goes to Aurora House to stay safe while his brother deals with the debt collectors. Turns out Aurora House is a home for the elderly, and they won’t let him go back home, instead giving him poison to keep him there. Eventually he makes it out and wants his story to be turned into a movie.
The pureblood who interrogates Sonmi. He seems interested by her and engrossed in her story. As they continue talking he becomes more and more personal with her. When Sonmi reveals the fate of the fabricants, to be killed and their parts reused, he is genuinely shocked and upset. He tells Sonmi that it cannot possibly be true. At the end of Sonmi’s story, he offers to do any favor she asks.
Gets to know Sonmi disguised as a postgrad student. When the enforcers break in, he reveals himself to be a member of the Union. He takes Sonmi with him, making sure she is safe inside and outside the city. Hae-Joo is the one who shows Sonmi the fabricants who are killed, and has sex with her afterward. He may or may not have real feelings for her. Since Sonmi figures out the Union is staged by Nea So Copros, he was working for the corporations all along.
A young goat-herder from the Valley. His father and brother are killed by Kona when he is a boy, and he blames himself for being cowardly. He is haunted by Old Georgie, the devil in their mythology. When Meronym comes to stay with his family, he is suspicious of her, but Meronym proves her worth and they soon form a close bond. He takes her to the mountain, and Old Georgie almost tricks him into killing her. Instead, he saves her life and takes her back to her people.
The mythical devil of the Valleymen. He appears sporadically throughout the novella, and is said to steal souls. He is the equivalent of the devil or trickster in other religions and belief systems. It is believed that if he takes hold of a soul, then that soul will not be able to reincarnate. Old Georgie tries to prey on Zachary’s fears of Meronym’s foreign knowledge, and get him to kill her. Zachary realizes what Old Georgie is doing and banishes him instead.
A Prescient woman in her fifties, although she looks young. She is an anthropologist and visits different tribes, gathering information and learning their ways. The Prescients are the most advanced civilization left after the fall, and Meronym is sent to observe without interfering in the developing cultures. She becomes close friends with Zachary and tells him the truth about the world. She also tells him that it is wrong to judge someone by the color of their skin. She has a comet-shaped scar on her shoulder-blade.