Title: Cloud Cuckoo Land
Author: Anthony Doerr
Publication: September 28, 2021
Publisher: Scribner (Simon & Schuster)
Genre: Historical Fiction & Fantasy
SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)
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.
**A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.**
This summer I attended the Virtual U.S. Book Show with my co-editor. We received many books to review and Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr was one of them. My co-editor, Kristin, originally received it, but seeing as it was more my genre preference than hers, she passed it off to me. I was daunted by the size all 620 pages of it. Nevertheless, I was excited to read it.
First, it’s really hard for me to review this book. It was an amazing book there is just such a cast of characters and bounces around that I can’t really give you a straight answer. The story revolves around Anna and Omeir in the 1400s in Constantinople their lives eventually cross and combine in the last section of the book. I really liked their stories. We had Omeir who felt like an outsider because he has a cleft palate and in those days they thought it was basically a mark of the witch or demon. In the current time 2020, we had Seymour and Zeno. Seymour is autistic and struggles as a child. Even his mother has issues knowing how to handle him. Zeno is an outcast because of his skin color. In the future, we have Konstance who lives on the Argos in the Mission Years 64+. She reads about Seymour and Zeno and wants to know more. She has her own coming of age and realization adventure.
I was so confused for much of this book. The jumping around of characters and the timeline left a slightly bitter taste in my mouth. I kept having to think wait what is this character’s story. I will say that once the storylines all merged into one the story became a lot clearer for me, but again that was around page 500. I did find some of the storylines a bit tedious and repetitive, especially Seymours. His was somewhat the same the entire way. I do wish that Zeno would have gotten the happier ending that he really wanted. I think that the ending he got was brave and somewhat a complete left-field ending. I do have the other book this author wrote somewhere in my pile of books to be read and I am really interested to read it and compare how different or similar the two books are.
STAR RATING: 3/5
Pick up a copy of Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr on Tuesday, September 28th at Amazon, Barnes and Noble or check your local bookstore. Also make sure to add it to your To Reads list on Goodreads and leave feedback for the author when you are finished. You can also check out more from author Anthony Doerr on his website HERE.