Pub Date 28 Sep 2021
Cloud Cuckoo Land is probably one of the most anticipated and hyped books to be released this fall. It is a novel that will intrigue, challenge and be long remembered by its readers.
Anthony Doerr is incredibly intelligent in how he has crafted his story. He also demonstrates a deep knowledge of mythic tales and history as he tells a story that begins with an ancient text that binds the entire narrative together. This is the myth of Cloud Cuckoo Land.
Doerr’s novel takes place in Constantinople in the 1400s during a siege, in the U.S. in recent history (going back before the Korean War and moving to now), and in a distant future. Each of these worlds is so vividly portrayed and each is unique. The feat of creating these disparate worlds that feel so real is worthy of praise.
The characters who populate these eras are richly vivid and readers will ache for them. They include Omeir and Anna who are on the opposite sides of Constantinople’s ramparts, Zeno and Seymour in the present, and Konstance in the future. Each has those to whom they are connected, along with worries and concerns. Readers may well have favorite characters. I admired Anna but found myself most drawn to Konstance.
There were times when I wanted to discard this novel. The pain of some of the characters felt like too much. Nonetheless I kept going as I wanted very much to understand how the plot strands would join. Of course, they are all reading the same ancient text but there will be more.
Anthony Doerr loves libraries and this is clear throughout the story. The magic, knowledge and anchor that they bring to their patrons is made most evident. In fact, the novel is dedicated to librarians.
Cloud Cuckoo Land is not All the Light We Cannot See. It is its own work and will be judged on its merits. It is a book that will make many of its readers think and care deeply. I highly recommend it.
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.