Genre: Literary Fiction
Length: 656 pages
First Published: 2021
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Scribner through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
From the author of All the Light We Cannot See comes an ambitious work of literary fiction. Doerr’s novel toggles between three timelines – the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, present-day Idaho, and interstellar ship far in the future. Each piece explores the power of stories as a fictional ancient Greek comedy weaves throughout the entire book.
I predict that Cloud Cuckoo Land will be hit or miss with people since the plot doesn’t converge as powerfully as it should. Yet, the awe-inspiring power of the written word that Doerr evokes in every sentence will be appreciated by literary fiction lovers.
From the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of All the Light We Cannot See, perhaps the most bestselling and beloved literary fiction of our time, comes a triumph of imagination and compassion, a soaring novel about children on the cusp of adulthood in a broken world, who find resilience, hope, and story.
The heroes of Cloud Cuckoo Land are trying to figure out the world around them: Anna and Omeir, on opposite sides of the formidable city walls during the 1453 siege of Constantinople; teenage idealist Seymour in an attack on a public library in present day Idaho; and Konstance, on an interstellar ship bound for an exoplanet, decades from now. Like Marie-Laure and Werner in All the Light We Cannot See, Anna, Omeir, Seymour, and Konstance are dreamers and outsiders who find resourcefulness and hope in the midst of peril.
An ancient text—the story of Aethon, who longs to be turned into a bird so that he can fly to a utopian paradise in the sky—provides solace and mystery to these unforgettable characters. Doerr has created a tapestry of times and places that reflects our vast interconnectedness—with other species, with each other, with those who lived before us and those who will be here after we’re gone.
Dedicated to “the librarians then, now, and in the years to come,” Cloud Cuckoo Land is a hauntingly beautiful and redemptive novel about stewardship—of the book, of the Earth, of the human heart.
About Anthony Doerr
Anthony Doerr is an award-winning author. His works include short story collections (The Shell Collector and Memory Wall), a memoir (Four Season in Rome), and three novels. His novel All the Light We Cannot See was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2015. Born in raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Doerr currently lives in Boise, Idaho. Visit the author’s website →