I just finished Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr and I had to sit and let the power of his words sink in for a bit. There is so much to think about in this story – life journeys, courage, hope and most of all . . . the power of a story. The novel is very complex because there are 3 different timelines and a connecting Greek myth that run through the story. But the characters are connected by a love of books and libraries – and there are similarities and connections in their stories.
The Greek myth is about a traveler trying to find “Cloud Cuckoo Land” where everything is lovely and magical. The three timeline stories and their main characters are:
Constantinople in the 1400’s – Anna, an orphan inside the walls of the city and
Omeir, a Bulgarian village/farm boy with a cleft palate who lives with his
21st century America, the village of Lakeport – Seymour, a loner who struggles
with social connections and Zeno, a former prisoner of war in Korea who
learned to translate Greek from a friend.
Future – Konstance, a child raised on The Argos; on a mission to reach another
planet with her parents and others
This is a magical novel – very well-written and it drew me into the lives of all five main characters. Hang in there at the beginning – it takes about 100 pages to really begin to understand the settings and all of the characters, but it is so worth it! If you are a lover of books you will LOVE this story! (It is over 600 pages, but actually reads faster than that because chapters are short and many pages are blank or only half full.) This novel is bound to be on many “best of the year” lists next month!