Review: Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr (spoiler-free)

Hello readers,

I hope October has been treating you right so far. Today, I wanted to share with you my thoughts on Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr. I read All the Light We Cannot See around the time it came out and I enjoyed it. I didn’t love it as much as some people but I did think it was a really good novel. When I learnt about this new release by Anthony Doerr, I was really intrigued by the synopsis. People seemed to really love it so I added it to my 22 books I wanted to get to in 2022 list.

The plot of this novel is a little hard to explain. We follow three different timelines. The first one is set in and around Constantinople in the 15th century. We follow Anna who lives in the city with her sister and we also follow Omeir, a boy who is recruited by the army set to invade Constantinople. The second timeline is set in Idaho in the 20th century and the first couple of decades in the 21st century. We follow Zeno, a man who learnt Greek from a British soldier while he was a prisoner of war. In his old age, he leads a few schoolchildren in a play. One day, as they are rehearsing in the library, a troubled teenager comes in with a disastrous plan. Finally, the last timeline is set in the future. Konstance is on an interstellar ship set for a distant planet. The element that links all these timelines together is Cloud Cuckoo Land, a story by Diogenes about Aethon, a man who is desperate to reach a dream place and encounters many misfortunes along the way. Ultimately, this is a book about books and their power.

“he realises that the truth is infinitely more complicated, that we are all beautiful even as we are all part of the problem, and that to be a part of the problem is to be human.” 

I am so glad I finally got to read this novel. I had a fantastic time with it. What I loved the most about it is how it was structured. The author did an amazing job linking these three timelines together. I was never confused as to where we were in the story and they were perfectly linked to each other in my opinion. This novel felt very different to anything I’d read before which was lovely. Despite its size (a little over 600 pages), it never felt long.

The characters were all very well fleshed out and complex. At the end of the book, I felt like I knew all of them quite deeply. Oftentimes when I read a book with multiple points of views, there is always some that I like more than others but I enjoyed all of them in this novel. They all felt very balanced.

This novel is an ode to books and shows how a story can survive through times and touch the lives of people centuries apart. I found All the Light We Cannot See slightly cheesy at times but this was not the case with this one. The message was relayed in such a way that it was beautiful without going into cheesy territory.

My only “complaint” for this book is that although Anthony Doerr’s writing is very nice and flows perfectly, I tend to like my writing a little more lyrical. I only tabbed one quote in this 600 pages novel.

My rating: 4.5/5

This was not quite a five-star read but I had such an amazing time reading it. I highly recommend it!

COMING NEXT on Pow’s Book Nook: a book haul.

Until then, bonne lecture.

Pow.

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4 thoughts on “Review: Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr (spoiler-free)

  1. I’m glad you loved this one so much! Personally, I liked All the Light We Cannot See and About Grace a lot more, but I think that’s just because the whole Constantinople storyline never really caught my interest… I was way more interested in Seymour and the future plotline! 😁

    Liked by 1 person

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