Cloud cuckoo land A novel

Anthony Doerr, 1973-

Book - 2021

"From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of perhaps the most bestselling and beloved literary fiction of our time comes a triumph of imagination and compassion, a soaring novel about children on the cusp of adulthood in a broken world, who find resilience, hope, and story. The heroes of Cloud Cuckoo Land are children trying to figure out the world around them, and to survive. In the besieged city of Constantinople in 1453, in a public library in Lakeport, Idaho, today, and on a spaceship bou...nd for a distant exoplanet decades from now, an ancient text provides solace and the most profound human connection to characters in peril. They all learn the story of Aethon, who longs to be turned into a bird so that he can fly to the paradise of Cloud Cuckoo Land, a better world. Twelve-year-old Anna lives in a convent where women toil all day embroidering the robes of priests. She learns to read from an old Greek tutor she encounters on her errands in the city. In an abandoned priory, she finds a stash of old books. One is Aethon's story, which she reads to her sister as the walls of Constantinople are bombarded by armies of Saracens. Anna escapes, carrying only a small sack with bread, salt fish--and the book. Outside the city walls, Anna meets Omeir, a village boy who was conscripted, along with his beloved pair of oxen, to fight in the Sultan's conquest. His oxen have died; he has deserted. In Lakeport, Idaho, in 2020, Seymour, a young activist bent on saving the earth, sits in the public library with two homemade bombs in pressure cookers--another siege. Upstairs, eighty-five-year old Zeno, a former prisoner-of-war, and an amateur translator, rehearses five children in a play adaptation of Aethon's adventures. On an interstellar ark called The Argos, Konstance is alone in a vault with sacks of Nourish powder and access to all the information in the world--or so she is told. She knows Aethon's story through her father, who has sequestered her to protect her. Konstance, encased on a spaceship decades from now, has never lived on our beloved Earth. Alone in a vault with sacks of Nourish powder and access to "all the information in the world," she knows Aethon's storythrough her father. Like Marie-Laure and Werner in All the Light We Cannot See, Konstance, Anna, Omeir, Seymour, the young Zeno, the children in the library are dreamers and misfits on the cusp of adulthood in a world the grown-ups have broken. They through their own resilience and resourcefulness, and through story. Dedicated to "the librarians then, now, and in the years to come," Anthony Doerr's Cloud Cuckoo Land is about the power of story and the astonishing survival of the physical book when for thousands of years they were so rare and so feared, dying, as one character says, "in fires or floods or in the mouths of worms or at the whims of tyrants." It is a hauntingly beautiful and redemptive novel about stewardship--of the book, of the Earth, of the human heart"--

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Subjects
Genres
Historical fiction
Science fiction
Novels
Published
New York : Scribner 2021.
Edition
First Scribner hardcover edition
Language
English
Physical Description
626 pages ; 24 cm
ISBN
9781982168438
1982168439
9781982168445
1982168447
Main Author
Anthony Doerr, 1973- (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Doerr, recipient of the Pulitzer Prize and the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction for All the Light We Cannot See (2014), returns with this masterful novel that spans centuries as it brilliantly examines the lives of five young people. Though seemingly disparate, their lives prove to have in common the mysterious presence of a comic novel from classical antiquity telling of a simpleminded shepherd, Aethon, who embarks on a quest to find Cloud Cuckoo Land, a fabled city in the clouds. As for the five children, who all come of age over the course of the novel, they are Anna and Omeir, who live in the fifteenth century during the siege of Constantinople; Zeno and Seymour, both outsiders, who live in Lakeport, Idaho, in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries; and Konstance, who lives aboard an interstellar spaceship sometime in the distant future. Doerr demonstrates a singular gift for bringing these complex, fully realized characters to empathetic life in this brilliantly imagined story, which moves backward and forward in time. Interspersed among the five children's evolving stories is the saga of Aethon's quest. One of the joys of reading Cloud Cuckoo Land is discovering the threads that link the five characters' lives, which ultimately cohere in ways that are simply unforgettable, as is this amazing gift of a novel.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Doerr's many ardent fans cannot wait to immerse themselves in his newest imaginative tale. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Anna and Omeir dwell on opposite sides of Constantinople's thick walls—and are on opposite sides during the 1453 siege. In present-day Idaho, idealistic teenager Seymour is involved in an attack on a public library. In the future, Konstance travels on an interstellar ship headed for an exoplanet. What do they have in common? They all worship the ancient story of Aethon, who wants to become a bird and fly away to a sky-high paradise, and they all appear in Pulitzer Prize—winning Doerr's new novel, dedicated to "librarians then, now, and in the years to come." Copyright 2021 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Doerr's first book since his Pulitzer Prize-winning All the Light We Cannot See, and even grander in conception and delivery, takes its name from an imagined realm referenced in Aristophanes's play The Birds. In present-day Idaho, Korean War veteran Zeno directs five energetic fifth graders in the production of a play called Cloud Cuckoo Land, which he reconstructed from an ancient Greek novel that he'd translated, even as activist teenager Seymour plans an attack centered on the public library where they rehearse. The play is connected to a young orphan named Anna dwelling in Constantinople as it falls to the Ottomans; a Balkans village boy named Omeir who supports the sultan's attack with his team of oxen; and Konstance, who decades in the future travels on an interstellar spacecraft headed for exoplanet Beta Oph2. Decidedly outsiders and mostly young people (even Zeno's plot is partly backstory of his difficult early years), these characters are deftly maneuvered by the capable Doerr. What results is a glorious golden mesh of stories that limns the transformative power of literature and our need both to dream big and to arrive back home in a world that will eventually flow on without us. VERDICT Highly recommended.—Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal Copyright 2021 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Pulitzer winner Doerr (All the Light We Cannot See) returns with a deeply affecting epic of a long-lost book from ancient Greece. In the mid-22nd century, Konstance, 14, copies an English translation of Cloud Cuckoo Land by Antonius Diogenes with her food printer's Nourish powder while aboard the Argos, an ark-like spaceship destined for a habitable planet. She found the book in the Argos's library, and was already familiar with Diogenes's story of a shepherd named Aethon and his search for a book that told of all the world's unknown lands, because her father told it to her while they tended the Argos's farm. Her father's connection to the Diogenes book is gradually revealed, but first Doerr takes the reader farther back in time. In chapters set in and around Constantinople leading up to the 1453 siege, two 13-year-old children, Anna and Omeir, converge while fleeing the city, and Omeir helps Anna protect a codex of Cloud Cuckoo Land she discovered in a monastery. Then, in 2020 Lakeport, Idaho, translator Zeno Ninis collaborates with a group of young children on a stage production of Cloud Cuckoo Land at the library, where a teenage ecoterrorist has planted a bomb meant to target the neighboring real estate office. Doerr seamlessly shuffles each of these narratives in vignettes that keep the action in full flow and the reader turning the pages. The descriptions of Constantinople, Idaho, and the Argos are each distinct and fully realized, and the protagonists of each are united by a determination to survive and a hunger for stories, which in Doerr's universe provide the greatest nourishment. This is a marvel. (Sept.) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Follows four young dreamers and outcasts through time and space, from 1453 Constantinople to the future, as they discover resourcefulness and hope amidst peril in the new novel by the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of All the Light We Cannot See.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of perhaps the most bestselling and beloved literary fiction of our time comes a triumph of imagination and compassion, a soaring novel about children on the cusp of adulthood in a broken world, who find resilience, hope, and story. The heroes of Cloud Cuckoo Land are children trying to figure out the world around them, and to survive. In the besieged city of Constantinople in 1453, in a public library in Lakeport, Idaho, today, and on a spaceship bound for a distant exoplanet decades from now, an ancient text provides solace and the most profound human connection to characters in peril. They all learn the story of Aethon, who longs to be turned into a bird so that he can fly to the paradise of Cloud Cuckoo Land, abetter world. Twelve-year-old Anna lives in a convent where women toil all day embroidering the robes of priests. She learns to read from an old Greek tutor she encounters on her errands in the city. In an abandoned priory, she finds a stash of old books. One is Aethon's story, which she reads to her sister as the walls of Constantinople are bombarded by armies of Saracens. Anna escapes, carrying only a small sack with bread, salt fish-and the book. Outside the city walls, Anna meets Omeir, a village boywho was conscripted, along with his beloved pair of oxen, to fight in the Sultan's conquest. His oxen have died; he has deserted. In Lakeport, Idaho, in 2020, Seymour, a young activist bent on saving the earth, sits in the public library with two homemade bombs in pressure cookers-another siege. Upstairs, eighty-five-year old Zeno, a former prisoner-of-war, and an amateur translator, rehearses five children in a play adaptation of Aethon's adventures. On an interstellar ark called The Argos, Konstance isalone in a vault with sacks of Nourish powder and access to all the information in the world-or so she is told. She knows Aethon's story through her father, who has sequestered her to protect her. Konstance, encased on a spaceship decades from now, has never lived on our beloved Earth. Alone in a vault with sacks of Nourish powder and access to "all the information in the world," she knows Aethon's storythrough her father. Like Marie-Laure and Werner in All the Light We Cannot See, Konstance, Anna, Omeir, Seymour, the young Zeno, the children in the library are dreamers and misfits on the cusp of adulthood in a world the grown-ups have broken. They through their own resilience and resourcefulness, and through story. Dedicated to "the librarians then, now, and in the years to come," Anthony Doerr's Cloud Cuckoo Land is about the power of story and the astonishing survival of the physical book when for thousands of years they were so rare and so feared, dying, as one character says, "in fires or floods or in the mouths of worms or at the whims of tyrants." It is a hauntingly beautiful and redemptive novel about stewardship-of the book, of the Earth, of the human heart"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

On the New York Times bestseller list for over 20 weeks * A New York Times Notable Book * A Barack Obama Favorite * A National Book Award Finalist * Named a Best Book of the Year by Fresh Air, Time, Entertainment Weekly, Associated Press, and many more “If you’re looking for a superb novel, look no further.” —The Washington Post From the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of All the Light We Cannot See, comes the instant New York Times bestseller that is a “wildly inventive, a humane and uplifting book for adults that’s infused with the magic of childhood reading experiences” (The New York Times Book Review).Among the most celebrated and beloved novels of recent times, Cloud Cuckoo Land is a triumph of imagination and compassion, a soaring story about children on the cusp of adulthood in worlds in peril, who find resilience, hope, and a book. In the 15th century, an orphan named Anna lives inside the formidable walls of Constantinople. She learns to read, and in this ancient city, famous for its libraries, she finds what might be the last copy of a centuries-old 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. Outside the walls is Omeir, a village boy, conscripted with his beloved oxen into the army that will lay siege to the city. His path and Anna’s will cross. In the present day, in a library in Idaho, octogenarian Zeno rehearses 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. Anna, Omeir, Seymour, Zeno, and Konstance are dreamers and outsiders whose lives are gloriously intertwined. Doerr’s dazzling imagination transports us to worlds so dramatic and immersive that we forget, for a time, our own.