Cover Image: Cloud Cuckoo Land

Cloud Cuckoo Land

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Member Reviews

Multiple generational storylines, spread across almost 1000 years, interlinked by the power of a single story.

This is a really well written, complex tale with some amazing characters and thought provoking plot lines. It really comes down to the power of conviction, of love, and everything that makes us humans.

‘we are all beautiful even as we are all part of the problem, and that to be part of the problem is to be human’

It took a while for me to get some rhythm at the beginning, but all of a sudden I was hooked and the book flowed perfectly. I found myself both loving the storyline I was currently reading and eager to get back to the other storylines at the same time.
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i loved All The Light We Cannot See anf had high hopes for this book. i was not disappointed! This is a beautifully written epic journey set over three time periods which are alled linked by a book. The author weaves the story expertly and the characters are finely drawn. A wonderful book - would highly recommend.
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Cloud Cuckoo Land by Antonius Diogenes, translation by Zeno Ninis. A magical journey that is sure to amaze you, indeed! I loved the worlds held within Cloud Cuckoo Land and the, seemingly, disjointed nature of the characters we follow: Konstance, Zeno, Seymour, Anna, Omeir and even Aethon. Each lives life in a different location and time but all are touched and transformed by the ancient story Cloud Cuckoo Land. This novel details a long and beautiful journey seeing our characters face many perils and heartbreaks which is entirely rewarding in the end when the connections are made clear.

A vastly complex story filled with ideas on happiness, survival, belief, love, loyalty, courage and protection of the environment it covers much worthy ground in a charming and delightful way.
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This must have been a massive undertaking to write and is also a massive undertaking to read - although worth the considerable effort. I enjoyed the vastly different timeframes the book is set in and was in awe of the variety of characters. Being able to weave together what is several different genres in one book is a fantastic achievement.
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I feel like a complete heathen but I did not get on with this book at all.  I tried - I wanted to stop reading but I carried on - I had so enjoyed his previous book and was hoping for another enchanting tale. But I got to a point that I was not reading because it meant reading this book.
It is very disjointed - lots of characters, timeframes, weird Greek bits thrown in, and no apparent plot or thread. The prose did not flow - perhaps a translation issue or just too flowery for my taste. I gave up - perhaps there is a really good bit but I had read a quarter of it and I was not convinced.
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Wow, just wow. This is such an amazing read. I was soon lost in this world and totally memorised. This is one of those reads that stays with you long after you have finished. I loved it
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Oh How I love this book. I was completely engrossed by it and the people in it. The way it moved about reminded me of Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell,  It was relatively straight forward to follow all the different time periods and they all fitted together satisfyingly like a jigsaw.  I gasped at the end when we found out about how the space ship hadn’t actually left earth.. Thank you for the opportunity to read this. It will stay with me for some time and I have already recomendec it to the owner of our local indie bookshop.
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Having loved ‘All the Light We Cannot See’ I was looking forward to reading this.
However I found it difficult to get into, mainly due to the separate narratives. These ranged from the fall of Constantinople in the 15th century, through present day environmental breakdown to a future set in a spaceship.
Each of the narratives has interesting characters and events and the book is well written, but too many storylines, too much going on and just as I got into one story it switched to another particularly at the beginning of the book.
The storylines do link up later (through a tale by Diogenes) but it just didn’t hold my interest. 

Many thanks to NetGalley for an ARC
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Overall I loved it. but this is definitely a book that you need to stick at.  When I was at the 25% mark I very nearly gave up, the multiple POVs and the shifting time lines within these POVs was draining.  Just as I got involved in a story it shifted to another place, another time.  At one point I was tempted to just read each story in order, skipping chapters as necessary...

Anyway, I stuck at it and was well rewarded.  The book completely absorbed me (although I must be truthful and say that I speed read some of the descriptive passages in the Omeir and Anna chapters).  I absolutely loved Konstance's story, it would make a brilliant stand alone novel but having said that it fitted perfectly into the overall plot.

The way the story of Aethon connected all the plots and subplots was truly amazing storytelling, they came together beautifully making sense of the whole book.
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Anthony Doerr is such a great storyteller.. I came to this after reading All The Light We Cannot See, and his latest has cemented him as one of my go to authors. Such a beautiful style of writing, bordering on the poetic at times, and a cast of characters so vivid that they worm their way into your brain so you're right along there with them for the ride.
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Thank you, 4th Estate, for a copy of Cloud cuckoo land by Anthony Doerr. I hear good things abut his previous novel that I was excited to receive a copy of Cloud Cuckoo Land. But don’t get me wrong but this is not a bad book but for me personally I found this over descriptive and didn’t find the connection between past, present and future that I DNF’d at 40% Three stars from me.
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Having read 'All the Light we Cannot See' by Antony Doer, I was really looking forward to this book, however, I was a little disappointed. I found the book very complicated to follow, with 5 or 6 different story lines and it was unclear how these all came together until the end. This left a feeling of a very disjointed book. By the end of the book I was glad I persevered and I may even read it again now I have a clearer understanding of the narrative. The ending in the future storyline was kind of unfinished. I think the author has achieved a very clever and involved narrative jumping around different timelines, although maybe it could have been less complicated.
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4.5 stars

This is a story about the power of stories.

You have the siege of Constantinople in 1453, a library in Idaho in the present day, and the inhabitants of an interstellar ship in the future. How on earth would any of these settings have a connection at all?

Because the stories are so wildly different it almost felt as if reading this was trying to solve a mental puzzle while reading 4 books at the same time.

I loved each story on its own merits, even Omeir’s which I was not as taken with initially (but he won me over at the end).

For me the ultimate magic was the way the author connected all the stories together at the end and that’s why I rounded up to 5 stars.

What an ambitious novel and I have to say the author pulled it off.

Highly recommended
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I really wanted to write a review that this stunning book deserves, but it’s just not possible. How a writer can weave the tale of so many apparently disparate threads & characters into such a beautiful, meaningful & powerful story is a mystery, but Anthony Doerr does, and then some. It just shouldn’t be possible to jump between 15th century Constantinople, the Korean War, modern day Idaho & the futuristic Argos , time and again and not leave the reader utterly lost. But there’s so much warmth in each thread, such humanity, and such a clear feeling of forward motion towards a predetermined future that I was enthralled within a few chapters. Even days later I’m still thinking about Konstance, Seymour, Omeir, Anna and Zeno, and this fable about a fable.
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How to sum up this extraordinary book? It defies categorisation, but is still one of the most fantastical and sublime pieces of writing I have ever read. The story is several stories really, over a huge time span, from the Middle Ages, to the later 21st century. Each of the threads is a complete narrative on its own, with characters so beautifully drawn, that the reader drops in an out of their lives with little difficulty - setting the scene for each story at the start was just a little confusing, but that will not prevent me giving this book 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 as the scene setting had to happen at the start for the book to make sense. The thread that joins all the narratives together is an ancient Greek codex (book) containing a bizarre and enchanting story, but to say any more would give too much away, so read this epic novel for yourself - it deserves to become one of the great books of the decade.
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“Hope is a pillar that holds up the world” we are told in Cloud Cuckoo Land, which is one of many different threads weaving its way through this epic novel, that helps to draw the lives of five disparate characters together.
Octagenarian Zeno Ninis in Idaho is our first character in the story. He is directing a play for some children in a local library when they are interrupted by our second character, Seymour Stuhlman, who appears in the library with explosives to blow up the place. Travelling back several hundred years we meet our third character, where Omeir is on the verge of being conscripted into the army for the great siege of Constantinople in 1453. Nearby is our fourth character, seamstress Anna, who is taking care of her dying sister, Maria. Finally we travel forward to the 22nd century where our fifth character, teenager Konstance is travelling in the Argos ship which is leaving the ruined earth behind to a inhabit a new planet, Beta Oph2.
Each character is linked together by the journey of the fragments of a manuscript of Diogenes’ translation of a fictional Greek text by Antonius Diogenes Cloud Cuckoo Land whose main character Aethon reflects the experiences of the characters in different ways. It is a complex story that addresses environmentalism, the power of literature to unite people, hope and the Utopian dream. I loved this book, but there were a few vulgar episodes which to be fair are briefly described and not overemphasised. That being said, I would still recommend reading it. If you have read All the Light You Cannot See you will recognise the author’s style, but it is sufficiently different to make it a new and exciting read.
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I really wanted to love this, there were times whilst I was reading that I was intensely reminded of Cloud Atlas. All compliments intended. However as the story plodded on there was just none of the joy of those interconnected stories. I think that because of the similarities I did fairly early on guess where things were going so maybe that deflated the conclusion for me a bit. Overall I just feel that the massive potential for such an epic story was a little wasted and the final act was dissatisfying. 

I liked Cloud Cuckoo Land, but in another life I would have adored it.
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Cloud Cuckoo Land covers so many things and tells so many stories that it's quite difficult to write a summary - suffice to say that there are five main characters, split over three timeframes - the 15th century, present time and the future, and that the stories includes many genres (fiction, historical fiction, sci-fi and fables). The amazing thing about this author is that although this is most definitely a piece of literature and is beautifully written, it's never feels like hard work reading this epic novel. I loved each of the storylines, and fell in love with his characters, human and animal. it is also rare to read a book with so many stories where I equally enjoyed each of them.

Anthony Doerr did an amazing job in bringing these stories together in the end. A magnificent novel about the power of stories, books, nature, journeys and homecomings. Highly recommend if you enjoy something a bit different.
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Firstly I would like to thank Netgalley, the author and publisher for my ARC.

This story is actually an experience in time travel, a rich golden thread that links three stories in different times to one belief.

Not a book to be rushed, the stories of Anna and Omeir in the mid fifteenth century, Seymour and Zeno in the early 21st century, and Konstance several decades in the future, are told to us in the format of their time starting with a very old tome.

I highly recommend Doerr’s most recent book, with a pot of tea and a lots and lots of time to while away …
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Cloud Cuckoo Land by Pulitzer Prize winner Anthony Doerr is epic. 

It’s a tricky sell which is an entirely immersive experience. Cloud Cuckoo Land is an ancient book within a book which ties together the threads of 5 other threads spanning centuries. 

Taking them chronologically Anna lives in 15th century Constantinople, surrounded by nuns embroidering the robes of priests, but she is a girl with a lot more zest for life and curiosity than her peers. Omeir lives in the same timeline but as a boy with a facial disfigurement, his early life is rural before he is consigned into the military. 

Zeno is a man who has lived a full life through the 20th century; a veteran of the Korean War, a man trying to find his place in life while pulled to engage in ancient texts by the (unrequited) love of his life. Seymour is a neuro-diverse boy struggling in a loud and brash world where his obsession with owls indirectly leads him down a tragic path. Finally Konstance lives in a future where the world (as we know it) has been ravaged by climate change and a band of brave volunteers have chosen a path to potential alternatives. 

Not only are there multiple POV but several are told across switching timelines, making Cloud Cuckoo Land one which can only work is masterfully told, which it is. My only pause is that so many threads means that I wanted to see how each story unfolded but I didn’t necessarily care about any of the characters (save for the heroic Zeno). 

Not as wow as All The Light We Cannot See but this is a very different book and is highly recommended. 

Thanks to 4th Estate, William Collins and Netgalley for an ARC.
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