Anthony Doerr produces masterpieces. His last one appeared as ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE, a marvelous epic novel filled with unforgettable characters and locales. He won a Pulitzer for it. As well he should have! I’ve been waiting for Doerr’s next novel. So when I started hearing chatter about it last year, well, I was excited.
CLOUD CUCKOO LAND is nothing like ALL THE LIGHT WE CAN NOT SEE. It will surely appeal to a broad audience. I see adults reading it. I see teens reading it. This is a vivid and magical story for all.
The story is told in three time periods. Get ready for it: Konstance opens up the story. She’s fourteen and sitting on the floor of a vault in a space ship named The Argos that is hurdling through space to escape earth; headed to the future, 2146.
We then meet Zeno in Idaho in 2020. He’s eighty-years-old and leading a rehearsal for a play about an ancient manuscript. He’s in the library in a small town with a group of young people. And we hook up with a troubled teenager named Seymour. Seymour is devastated because a group of developers are plowing over his world to build on it. He’s come to the library with a backpack filled with explosives.
We meet Anna who is a young orphan girl tending her sick sister on one side of Constantinople way back in 1439. Yes, a long time ago. And we meet Omeir, a boy born with what we now know is a cleft palate. You can only imagine his plight.He is only really able to relate to his two oxen named Tree and Moonlight.
You are now wondering what any of these people could possibly have in common. There is an ancient Greek manuscript in the middle of all this. The author was a real person but, the book is contrived by Doerr. The author is Antonius Diogenes. A book within a book.
I was dazzled by the virtual library onboard the Argos. I found myself engrossed in the ancient city of Constantinople with all its mysteries.
We are all connected by the desire for survival. Each character has their own unbelievable challenge. With short, concise chapters, Doerr brings their story into our world. Through the miracle and magic of reading and books, we come together to celebrate reading and the joy and knowledge it brings.
Nan Graham is Anthony Doerr’s editor at Simon and Schuster. I loved hearing her speak about Tony and the new novel.
Anthony Doerr dedicates his new novel to all the librarians; past, present, and future.
I received a review copy of CLOUD CUCKOO LAND months ago from the very generous publishing people at Simon and Schuster. I also received a gorgeous finished hardcopy just the other day. What a wonderful edition for the collection. Thanks so much Simon and Schuster!