Wow! That was a marathon. I feel like I’ve been dragged pretty much all over time and space. But I also rather feel like I just read six short novels which were rather loosely tied to each other. The link is in the idea of the transmission of documents through generations of people somehow connected to each other. That's interesting, provided you don't mind the idea that the documents are basically inactive and of emotional significance only to those people. The other connecting thread the depressing, though possibly true theme, about the eternal resistance of the human spirit in the face of oppression but equally, the upper hand oppression constantly regains.
When I come to ask myself if these six short novels (or one long one) were any good, I find I want to rate them between 2 and 4 stars, depending which novel/part. Honestly, Cloud Atlas was okay, but I’ve read many books which packed a similar punch on the same theme, were at least as clever in their organization, better in their writing and not nearly as long.