Cover Image: Cloud Cuckoo Land

Cloud Cuckoo Land

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Member Reviews

After reading only a few pages, I was hooked! This one has tied for first place as my favorite book of 2021. The writing is brilliant; the multiple timeline plots are each unique; the whole concept is so clever, especially the way everything ties together. Expecting some major awards for this story. Don’t be intimidated by the length because you won’t be able to put it down. Destined to be one of my most highly recommended books of all time.
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Another fantastic book by Anthony Doerr. Completely different from his first novel.
The book covers 600 years and the small characters caught up in history  out to the Year 2146.
Preserving important works of art - in this case  the mythic story Cloud Cuckoo Land by Diogenes is heroic and the mission of all the main characters. 
A hopeful story about the power of mankind to survive its darkest moments, and interconnected  humans doing their best when tested… truly a wonderful story filled with pearls of wisdom.
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Naturally, when a Pulitzer Prize winner like Doerr releases a follow-up novel many years later, people are going to make comparisons. I will say that my first experience with Doerr was his travel memoir, Four Seasons in Rome, which I unexpectedly loved. I didn’t actually read All the Light We Cannot See until about a year ago, but I loved it as well. I was ecstatic to get an ARC of Cloud Cuckoo Land, and there is almost no comparison for me: it’s amazing.

Let’s just get this out if the way: I loved this book, it’s definitely going to be on my best of list for 2021, and I think Anthony Doerr might be a literary genius.

With absolutely gorgeous writing, Doerr has woven together the stories of five distinct characters across hundreds of years, all revolving around one (fictional) ancient tale by Diogenes, Cloud Cuckoo Land. From the 15th century fall of Constantinople, to a 1940s American immigrant story, to a more modern day misguided autistic eco-warrior, to a near future where an interstellar traveler aboard a multigenerational space flight flees the ravaged Earth for a safe new home for humanity, we follow Diogenes’ shepherd, Aethon, as he tries to find a mythical land in the heavens.

All of the characters are completely formed and intriguing and the various storylines are delightfully complex. I was totally absorbed in this book from start to finish. It infuriated me, broke my heart a few times, and made me ridiculously happy. A complete, satisfying read, centered around the love of stories and learning, with deep, important messages and themes. I honestly can’t think of a thing I didn’t like about the book, and I can’t recommend it enough.

I read most on my kindle but supplemented on my walks with the (fantastic) audiobook. Personally, I like to listen to chunksters like Cloud Cuckoo Land, and the top-notch production and masterful narration by Marin Ireland and Simon Jones make for a great audio experience.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for my copy of this epic book in exchange for this honest, completely gushing, review.

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I loved this book.  There was so much world building it seemed like in the beginning which made it slow but it was so worth it.  I loved all of the characters and I felt like I really bonded with them.  I didn't want to put the book down and it made for a great book club discussion.
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Although a major departure from "All the Light We Cannot See", I still thoroughly enjoyed Cloud Cuckoo Land. This book was, first and foremost, a love letter to the story and its transmission. It felt a little like Cloud Atlas, in that it followed five separate characters through different times and places, initially feeling distinct and unrelated. The disparate storylines, however, feel anything but distracting; Doerr masterfully entwines the separate stories together in an organic flow that you can't help but follow along with. By the end of the book, the connections are so gradually created that by the time they come clear, they seem both mind-blowing and inevitable. An excellent book; I can't wait to see what Doerr writes next.
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Absolutely loved this book! Fiction at its best. Multiple different story lines all converge into one magnificent ending!
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Anna is an orphan living her life embroidering priest's robes.  She learns to read and spends her evenings reading to her sick sister to help her find peace.  One book in particular becomes a favorite and it becomes a lifeline until the city is besieged and she is forced to run for her life.  She crosses paths with Omeir and their future is intertwined.

Current day we have Zeno, who in his 80's has taken upon himself to teach some local kids the same story Anna loved.  They are determined to turn it into a play.  But they could be in the crosshairs of a disgruntled teen who has planted a bomb in the library where they are rehearsing this play.

In the future Konstance in on the ship Argos, headed to inhabit a new world.  When there is an outbreak on the ship, she finds herself contained and scared.  But then she discovers a library in her digital atlas and finds that same book.

At the end all three time periods collide in an unexpected finale.

This felt long to me.  I kind of slogged through this one.  Maybe it wasn't the right book at the right time.  I had a hard time keeping track of names and times and what was going on.  It would have been helpful to keep notes on this one.  Definitely didn't see the ending coming.  It's overall a good book, very clever and creative, just long (628 pages) and very involved.

Thanks to NetGalley and Scribner for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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I really liked All The Light We Cannot See, so I was thrilled to receive an ARC of this book!  Unfortunately, this story is not for me and does not hold my interest so I am marking it DNF.  I got through 20% of the book without knowing or understanding what I was reading, how the characters could fit together, or even what is going on with the characters.  I really wanted to like this book, but I will not be finishing it.

Thank you to NetGalley and Scribner for the ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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This book was slooowwww. I think anyone who loves literary fiction and descriptive writing will enjoy this.  The author definitely has a talent for writing incredibly sympathetic characters; each person’s plight tugged at my heartstrings. However it felt too long and rambly. I just wanted to know what happened next to these poor souls! (It takes 50% of the book to even get to the summary of the book) The plot of each timeline could honestly have been wrapped up in just a few pages each.  The ending got a bit confusing and though it was pretty easy to read, I just couldn't completely keep my attention.  Also I did not care AT ALL about the story of Cloud Cuckoo Land which is what ties all the timelines together. This one was not for me, but I can see why others may have loved it.
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Wow wow wow. There are so many things to love about this story. 

Each narrative was so distinct in both voice and atmosphere, and each timeline felt thoroughly researched. Anna's timeline especially I felt could have been a standalone story in its own right—it was such an inspiring and lovely moment to pluck out of such a dark and intense period in history. I loved the way the namesake 'Cloud Cuckoo Land' saga was interwoven throughout the book, and how each character found their way to the story in different but parallel ways. 

My only complaint lies in the neurodivergent representation. While Seymour as a whole feels very real to me, the choice to align him with eco-terrorism felt a little tone-deaf. I'm afraid that readers who are not well versed in the realities of neurodivergence will use that tidbit to fuel negative assumptions about those in the ASD community, which is not something any of us really need. 

As a whole, this was a creative, thoughtful and moving story—another knockout from a favorite author!
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Cloud Cuckoo Land was every bit as amazing as I expected it to be. These intertwining story lines give me some major Cloud atlas vibes that made this story all the more amazing. This isn't a story of just people. This is a story about stories and the power and magic that comes from them. Read this if you enjoyed the Cloud Atlas and have always been enthralled by books.
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#anthonydoerr is an author you either love or don’t. His last novel #allthelightwecannotsee and now #cloudcuckooland are both written with such precision and fine detail. You will either find yourself frustrated or enthralled. #scribner #netgalley #bookstagram #readersofinstagram
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I really wanted to love this book, and kept reading far longer than I normally would have (around page 200). I kept hoping I would get sucked in and be unable to put it down, but alas. I think it jumps around too much and I never got a chance to really feel strongly about any of the characters, although the closest I got was with Seymour. I might pick it up again later, but I spent over a week slogging through only to make very little progress.
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I finished this book a few days into October and my official opinion is that Doerr is a genius. This book won’t be for everyone — if you don’t like long books, lots of storylines, or Greek literature & mythology, I’d say it’s a pass for you. But if you liked the quiet, expansive storytelling of Doerr’s All The Light We Cannot See, you’ll likely be delighted with this new release. I was hooked immediately because I trusted Doerr to take me somewhere, but the first handful of chapters are a bit disjointed and don’t really “go” anywhere, but I’d encourage you to keep on because the payoff is well worth it.
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Anthony Doerr is an author I have come to admire and this latest of his novels did not disappoint. The title is the central premise, a recently discovered manuscript of a tale by an ancient Greek writer, Antonius Diogenes. This fantastic and mythical tale becomes a background for Doerr’s story of three episodes in human history. He follows the lives of Anna and Omeir, who live in the 15th century; Zeno and Seymour who live in contemporary times; and Konstance who lives in the future. The link: the power of the story, the book, the word. And when available, the wonder of books gathered together, into a library, whether an ancient room of papyrus scrolls, a brick and mortar 20th century version or a possible virtual library of the future.

The Greek tale, of Aethon who wishes to meet the gods in Cloud Cuckoo Land, goes through torments to get there, and…what? The folios have become very damaged over the centuries but so many who happened upon them valued the words and continued the chain, passing the story on. The ending of the myth, well that is open to interpretation.

While some who do not enjoy divided storylines might not appreciate Cloud Cuckoo Land, there is so much here to enjoy: a look at the personal work of translating and the joy of success which can help offset some of life’s other hardships, a fascinating look at life in Constantinople on the eve of its downfall, a projected future for humans fueled by climate crisis. And as always with Doerr, there are episodes of magical prose.

A 4.5* rating due to some perceived slowness to start, but rounded up.

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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If you enter into Cloud Cuckoo Land expecting All the Light We Did Not See, you are going to be disappointed.  This book really launches you into a new world with engaging characters of different time and place.  And all of their storylines are intertwined.  The book is dedicated to librarians, which seems so fitting, and makes you wonder - when all is lost, do our stories survive?
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I was lucky enough to receive this book from NetGalley. It took me a while to get into and to keep all the different stories straight, but once they began to come together, the story was truly magical. One ancient story weaving its way through so many generations. Past, present and future. And the stories of each character end very similar to the story of Aethon which wraps it all up very nicely.
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I don’t care who you are, you need to read this novel!
  It is the story of a simple Shepard, Aethon. But it is also so much more. It is about Konstance and Seymore, Omeir, Zion, and others. It is across time  from the 1500s to the 2100s.
  It is about a philosopher and religion and global warming and humanity. I believe there may be light nods to Stephen King as well.
Incredibly well written. When I began the book I thought it was not my kind of book and by the third chapter , I couldn’t stop. I so wanted to know what happened next to each character.. Thoroughly  enjoyed this. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for allowing me to read an ARC.
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For those that loved Doerr's other work, this one will also enchant. For those that didn't find his other work compelling, this is not likely to change your mind.  His style is very word-heavy (why use three words when you could use twenty!) and full of detail that slow the story's pace.  However, I do think that's what the author intends - to ruminate rather than rush.  What I found most difficult is that the author thinks this is somehow honoring the work of libraries, but as a librarian, I did not find his stories uplifting to my profession.  This is a treatise on the catastrophes of climate change and war, and I found little that was hopeful for the future.  I do acknowledge that the book is well-constructed, with the disparate stories coming together in a wonderful way in the finale.  I just find that this book was not for me.
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What a dizzying, breathtaking, utterly captivating book! I had no previous experience with Doerr, but I left so astounded that I need to catch up ASAP. I know, I know. This seems like such a sin with the sheer popularity of some of his books, but I was a struggling college student at the time and most of my free time was spent mourning the fact that I was wasting time I didn't really have to waste. Tangent aside, I love when there are multiple narratives that tie together (especially when it is done this well), The beautiful descriptions and the story kept me invested long after I closed the book, and I keep finding myself thinking about how deeply this book affected me. Please give it a chance! In the mean time, I will be catching up on Doerr's catalog.
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