Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr
The heroes of Cloud Cuckoo Land try to understand the world around them: Anna and Omeir, on either side of the formidable city walls during the siege of Constantinople in 1453; teenage idealist Seymour during an attack on a public library in present-day Idaho; and Konstance, on an interstellar ship bound for an exoplanet, decades from now. Like Marie-Laure and Werner in All the Light We Cannot See, Anna, Omeir, Seymour and Konstance are dreamers and strangers who find resourcefulness and hope in the midst of peril.
An ancient text – the story of Aethon, who longs to be transformed into a bird so that he can fly to a utopian paradise in the sky – brings solace and mystery to these unforgettable characters. Doerr has created a tapestry of eras and places that reflects our vast interconnectedness – with other species, with each other, with those who lived before us and those who will be there after we leave.
Dedicated to “librarians then, today and years to come,” Cloud Cuckoo Land is a hauntingly beautiful and redemptive novel about stewardship – of the book, of the Earth, of the human heart.
Reasons to read it: This is the most recent from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of All the Light We Cannot See. It seems a bit silly to try and present this, as it’s hard to think of a book club book more beloved than All the light that we can’t see, so it will already be on the radar of a lot of people. This one is dedicated to “librarians of then, of today and of the years to come”. It’s an ambitious and hopeful novel about maturity in a broken world. Cuckoo Earth Cloud explores the human responsibility of stewardship and the different ways these characters find resilience and redemption in difficult times.