I was struck by how the book came full circle. It started in the South Pacific dealing with slavery and ended in the South Pacific dealing with slavery.
I think the structure was a little distracting. I spent the whole time looking for connections between the stories, but there really weren't any until it started moving backward in time.
I can't take the reincarnation too seriously since Luisa was a character in a novel. That means she's as related to Frobisher as the book club members are to the Cloud Atlas characters. However, that could very well be a question the author wanted the reader to ask themselves.
It did seem to be a cautionary tale - if corporations continue to get more power we're going to get Somni 451's world.
As to Rafael, I thought he was simply a rape victim, another example of treating people as objects