Book Review

Review – The Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr


How do we weather the end of things? Cloud Cuckoo Land brings together an unforgettable cast of dreamers and outsiders from past, present and future to offer a vision of survival against all odds.

Constantinople, 1453: 
An orphaned seamstress and a cursed boy with a love for animals risk everything on opposite sides of a city wall to protect the people they love.

Idaho, 2020:

An impoverished, idealistic kid seeks revenge on a world that’s crumbling around him. Can he go through with it when a gentle old man stands between him and his plans?

Unknown, Sometime in the Future:

With her tiny community in peril, Konstance is the last hope for the human race. To find a way forward, she must look to the oldest stories of all for guidance.

Bound together by a single ancient text, these tales interweave to form a tapestry of solace and resilience and a celebration of storytelling itself. Like it’s predecessor All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr’s new novel is a tale of hope and of profound human connection.

My Review:

Reading Cloud Cuckoo Land reminds me a lot of my childhood where my mom would pick one story from a book we had so long ago called 365 bedtime stories. Every night I would anticipate which story we would read and it was that excitement and the unknown first planted the seed for my love for reading. Reading Cloud Cuckoo Land felt just like that!

Anthony Doerr has written an ambitious book that is just magnificent. I didn’t think it was possible for me to summarise the story as its magnitude was so much larger than I expected. Followed 5 different characters across centuries and multiple timelines, Cloud Cuckoo Land was epic. All these characters were connected by one thing in common and that was Cloud Cuckoo Land, a story that was believed to be written in the first century about Aethon: lived 80 years a man, 1 year a donkey, 1 year a sea bass, 1 year a crow. Even though the events happened in the book maybe set in different timelines or even different centuries, ultimately it was about the healing power of stories and how important it was for us to preserve books. “Of all the mad things we humans do, Rex once told him, there might be nothing more humbling, or more noble, then trying to translate the dead languages. We don’t know how the old Greeks sounded when they spoke; we can barely map their words onto ours; from the very start, we’re doomed to fail. But in the attempt, he said, in trying to drag something across the river from the murk of history into our time, into our language: that was, he said, the best kind of fool’s errand.” This, right here, is why I love reading!

Cloud Cuckoo Land was one of my very favourite reads this year. There was this timelessness to it and I am certain it will becomes a classic one day. I love it and wholeheartedly recommend it.

To quote the book “Stranger, whoever you are, open this to learn what will amaze you.”

Huge thank you to the lovely team at 4th Estate books for sending me these amazing copies. I am forever grateful!

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