Kenneth Branagh dressed as Isambard Kingdom Brunel reciting Shakespeare halfway up Glastonbury Tor was authentically strange; Tim Spall reciting the same piece of Shakespeare from the pinnacle of Big Ben whilst pretending to be Winston Churchill was corny. The Opening Ceremony was a work of the imagination, the Closing Ceremony wasn't, but- never mind- I'm sure it was pretty amazing if you were actually there.
Cloud Atlas is six books in one; Number Nine Dream is nine. The more styles you write in and the more genres you encompass, the more chance you have of capturing reality- or so the thinking seems to go. In Cloud Atlas Mitchell hits upon a formal structure strong enough to contain and discipline his creative antsyness, his yearning after omniscience, his need to do the police in different voices. Here- one book earlier- he doesn't. Not quite.