A Review of Anthony Doerr’s CLOUD CUCKOO LAND

Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When my book club decided to read Doerr’s latest, I was skeptical. One, the book is a monster. 600+ pages. Two, I couldn’t see why anyone rated it as high as they did. It was so disjointed. Then, I read the first chapters and was captivated.

As a writer, I was struck by Doerr’s style. He seems to have taken a series of short stories featuring an odd cast of characters across time, broken them apart, and sewed them together to form an interesting yet cohesive whole. I tried deconstructing the narrative style. And failed in spades. I tried to put it into a genre. Not really historical fiction, yet the fall of Constantinople plays a pivotal role. Literary fiction, of course, but what else? Speculative fiction? A bit. Science fantasy? Perhaps. After a while, I simply let the narrative sweep me where it would. This is a fantastic read that moves quickly, interweaves the importance of books and writing them, of how people are connected through time and space.

You’ll find broken characters seeking to do nothing more than survive, some of whom rise to heroic levels. You’ll find redemption for one of the most broken, a bomber who attacks a library. You’ll find people on two sides of a siege find a way to communicate when they don’t understand each others’ language. You’ll fall in love with Moonlight and Tree. You’ll wonder at the resistance of Konstance in her steel capsule heading to a planet she will not reach alive.

Throughout all of this runs a love of the written word, the importance of books to bind us together, and the work a writer does to keep her craft moving forward.

Highly recommended to all readers ready with a sense of wonder about where words can take us.

#WritingLife #BookReview #LiteraryFiction

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