Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr

Published: 2021. 1. First lines 2. Cover: Simon & Schuster 3. Sunset clouds [Public Domain] via Negative Space 4. A performance of the play Birds by Aristophanes:[CC BY 4.0] via Wikimedia 5. Urbino. [CC BY 2.0] Image by Luca Boldrini via Flickr Original image cropped.

Five different characters all have a connection to an Ancient Greek story called Cloud Cuckoo Land about a comical character going on a journey to reach a utopian land in the sky. Konstance is a fourteen-year-old girl on a spacecraft in the future; Zeno is an eighty-year-old man living in a small town in Idaho in the present day; Seymour is a seventeen-year- old also living in Idaho in the present day; Anna is an orphan in Constantinople in 1439; and Omeir is a boy living two hundred hundred miles away in a woodcutters’ village. From the first century to the year 2146, these characters each have their own quest.

BOOK SNAPS: Multiple timelines and characters take some time to come together. There was such a lot going on over a long period of time in short chapters, that this reader had to work hard keeping track of all the connections. Multiple themes are also a lot to think about so this book deserves to be reread. The last part leads to a very strong and satisfying conclusion, and the complexities of the book turned out, for me, to be its real strength.

Guardian: “a joyous epic of love and survival.”

Kirkus: “An ancient Greek manuscript connects humanity’s past, present, and future…. As the pieces of this magical literary puzzle snap together, a flicker of hope is sparked for our benighted world.”

Stranger, whoever you are, open this to learn what will amaze you.”

Quotes:


“… eighty-six years has been enough. In a life you accumulate so many memories, your brain constantly winnowing through them, weighing consequence, burying pain, but somehow by the time you’re this age you still end up dragging a monumental sack of memories behind you, a burden as heavy as a continent, and eventually it becomes time to take them out of the world.”

“In daylight, the tree is magnificent: its trunk swirls with ten thousand intertwined gnarls; dozens of low branches, decked with bright red berries, eddy toward the ground like snakes.”


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