Finalist for the 2021 National Book Award, longlisted for the 2022 Andrew Carnegie Medal, and the instant New York Times bestseller!
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 the highly anticipated Cloud Cuckoo Land.
Set in Constantinople in the fifteenth century, in a small town in present-day Idaho, and on an interstellar ship decades from now, Anthony Doerr’s gorgeous third novel is a triumph of imagination and compassion, a soaring story about children on the cusp of adulthood in worlds in peril, who find resilience, hope—and a book. In Cloud Cuckoo Land, Doerr has created a magnificent tapestry of times and places that reflects our vast interconnectedness—with other species, with each other, with those who lived before us, and with those who will be here after we’re gone.
Thirteen-year-old Anna, an orphan, lives inside the formidable walls of Constantinople in a house of women who make their living embroidering the robes of priests. Restless, insatiably curious, Anna learns to read, and in this ancient city, famous for its libraries, she finds a book, the story of Aethon, who longs to be turned into a bird so that he can fly to a utopian paradise in the sky. This she reads to her ailing sister as the walls of the only place she has known are bombarded in the great siege of Constantinople. Outside the walls is Omeir, a village boy, miles from home, conscripted with his beloved oxen into the invading army. His path and Anna’s will cross.
Five hundred years later, in a library in Idaho, octogenarian Zeno, who learned Greek as a prisoner of war, rehearses five children in a play adaptation of Aethon’s story, preserved against all odds through centuries. Tucked among the library shelves is a bomb, planted by a troubled, idealistic teenager, Seymour. This is another siege. And in a not-so-distant future, on the interstellar ship Argos, Konstance is alone in a vault, copying on scraps of sacking the story of Aethon, told to her by her father. She has never set foot on our planet.
Like Marie-Laure and Werner in All the Light We Cannot See, Anna, Omeir, Seymour, Zeno, and Konstance are dreamers and outsiders who find resourcefulness and hope in the midst of gravest danger. Their lives are gloriously intertwined. Doerr’s dazzling imagination transports us to worlds so dramatic and immersive that we forget, for a time, our own. Dedicated to “the librarians then, now, and in the years to come,” Cloud Cuckoo Land is a beautiful and redemptive novel about stewardship—of the book, of the Earth, of the human heart.
Cloud Cuckoo Land (Anthony Doerr) Book Discussions
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Anthony Doerr - Cloud Cuckoo Land Book Reviews
DisappointingThis book was incredibly difficult to follow. I too was intrigued by the initial reviews. However, I could not figure out the characters nor the storyline. Very disappointing..Score: 1/5
AstonishingThis is the first book I have ever reviewed on Apple Books - it it simply the best book I have ever read. It will change your life, and more sentences than you can count will make you pause and catch your breath. Read it..Score: 5/5
Best book I’ve read so far this yearI loved this book! It has beautiful storytelling, really amazing characters, and the imagery is outstanding. I really felt invested in the characters. This was one of those books where I wanted to hurry up and see how it ends, but at the same time I didn’t want it to end at all..Score: 5/5
Wow!I didn’t want it to end. Read it..Score: 5/5
Beautiful.I couldn’t put this book down. An absolute pleasure to read..Score: 5/5
Cuckoo is rightI enjoy everything from simple romance, mystery & thrillers on up to some of the great literary works. I try to judge them based on what genre they are in. This was horrible to me. The quick preview piqued my interest when i listened to it and sadly it was all down hill from there after i bought it. Incredibly difficult to follow along with the rapid changes of characters & time. I could never really develop any kinship with anyone and had difficult even remembering the characters beyond 1 or two of them as they switched around. By the end i was left thinking ……. What was the freaking point of this? The books title is exactly what it is……. Weird and not in the good clock work orange weird way but in a meaningless devoid of character development and waste of time way..Score: 1/5
Cloud Cuckoo LandAnother beautifully written novel by Doerr with 5 linked stories- linked by a love of an ancient novel and focusing on children going through existential challenges but overcoming them. The theme of the book is humanity’s treatment of the natural world over the centuries. The final installment in the story reminds us there is no escape- we have to preserve and protect our world..Score: 4/5
The best book I have read in yearsA line from Billy Collins’ poem, “Marginalia”, frequently comes to mind when I read ancient literary works. Referring to medieval Irish monks in a scriptorium, Collins describes them as, “anonymous men catching a ride into the future on a vessel more lasting than themselves.” I have always loved knowing that anonymous people throughout the ages have contributed so much to enrich our lives. Anthony Doerr tells their stories beautifully . The randomness of his characters and their experiences, which ultimately blend into a unified whole, is a testament to the transcendence of literature. Doerr is establishing himself as a master artist and craftsman..Score: 5/5
Ignore that other negative review please...I read that other review and questioned whether I should read this book. Was it too lofty for the common reader to enjoy and take something away from it? Honestly, I'm personally concinced that other reader was impatient, gave up, and completely missed the point. The magnitude of the characters and their stories is intentional and a plot device that is necessary for this epic to make sense. Without their individual tales-- it would not weave itself together with the greater reason and point of this story. Give this book the time it needs to delve within all of their tales and you'll find that the Ancient text of a "dull-witted mutton-headed lamebrain" is the spine that interweaves each of the main 5 stories together that truly is timeless. If you want something that's 'light'-- this may not be for you right now. There is something within each of the 5 stories for everyone, but if you don't accept that because 'the pace didn't pick up': go read a thriller or romance, the weight of this book will be wasted if you're impatient. Come back to this when you want to commit to the journey..Score: 5/5
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