After the hype this book received I was disappointed. One major objection is after reading though all these individual stories I was anticipating an ending that would explain the relationship between them, the grand theme that tied them all together. All there was regarding that was a simple homily; “Mankind would be much better off if we were all nice to each other than if we compete in a dog-eat-dog world.” Sorry, but that did not require ~500 pages to develop. There was the theme of reincarnation, but that was spotty and inconsistent. Sometime characters experience vague memories of past lives, and sometimes not. That and sometimes this was tied into a comet birthmark. Or was it just by coincidence that a life record in whatever form the previous age's technology would dictate—from personal written journal to orison—happens to fall into the hands of principal character of the next in time line?
An additional complaint is how hokey and derivative many of the tales were. That tale of Luisa read like a mash up of film scripts from the 1970s for which the central theme was the “system” is controlled by powerful evil men out to do the public harm. In this case it was a blend of Three Days of the Condor and The China Syndrome. That and the typical cliches were all there. Idealistic young reporter is suddenly thrust into the middle of a story fraught with personal danger, and only her bravery and dedication can save the world. Of course there is the burnt out mentor who has lost his moral compass, but in the end will be pricked by his conscience and save the day at the cost of his life. And as far as the Tale of Sonmi 451, someone obviously read A Brave New World and was impressed. Other tales just seemed pointless; e.g. Timothy Cavendish and Robert Frobisher.
So maybe I am being overly hard on this book because of all the media praise and the awards it won. Sorry but in my opinion there is nothing exceptional about this book that warranted any awards.