The cover of Cloud Cuckoo LandI finally finished reading Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr, and I’m glad I did. The book interweaves five stories across many centuries. The stories are connected around the parable of Aethon and his search for the mythical Cloud Cuckoo Land.

The book begins with Konstance, a precocious 14-year-old locked in a vault aboard a spacecraft called the Argos. We also meet city girl Anna and country boy Omeir who struggle to survive in Constantinople in the 1400s. And we learn of the lives of Zeno and Seymour, a driven octogenarian and a troubled young man living in present-day Lakeport, Idaho.


What I liked about Cloud Cuckoo Land

Like Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See, this book is beautifully written. Here’s a passage from Zeno’s story:

He escorts five fifth graders from the elementary school to the public library through curtains of falling snow. He is an octogenarian in a canvas coat; his boots are fastened with Velcro; cartoon penguins skate across his necktie. All day, joy has steadily inflated inside his chest, and now, this afternoon, at 4:30 p.m. on a Thursday in February, watching the children run ahead down the sidewalk–Alex Hess wearing his papier-mache donkey head, Rachel Wilson carrying a plastic torch, Natalie Hernandez lugging a portable speaker–the feeling threatens to capsize him.

In addition to the beautiful writing, the characters are well-drawn, and their stories are intriguing. I liked learning about the Fall of Constantinople through the eyes of Anna and Omeir and the creativity of the Argus’ technology. I also enjoyed discovering how these five stories were connected.


Issues I had with the book

It took me a long time to finish the book, but not because it’s 622 pages. The book’s structure bothered me. Just as I became engrossed in one story, I’d have to switch gears and remember the storyline of another. It was as if I were reading five different books. The book’s timeline would also jump around even within stories, which was sometimes unsettling.


I wanted more (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing)

My favorite story (I won’t tell you which one) wasn’t adequately resolved. This was really frustrating. It left me with so many questions that I wished Doerr would have written another ten to twenty pages to provide some answers.


How this book has affected my writing

One of my favorite books, Station Eleven, also time hops and has several connected stories, but it flowed better than this book. I’m considering writing a novel with several interconnected stories; if I do, I’ll study both Station Eleven and Cloud Cuckoo Land. I also like the idea of using a parable to illustrate the book’s theme and might include that in a young adult novel.


I give Cloud Cuckoo Land  👍🏻 👍🏻 👍🏻 and 1/2 stars for beautiful storytelling.


Next month’s book:

Cover of The Brief Wondrous LIfe of Oscar Wao audiobook

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, read by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Karen Olivo. This funny and poignant novel about Dominican Americans won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.




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The Cover of The Devil ParticleBig News — the release date for The Devil Particle is June 6th, 2023! But you can read it sooner! How? By becoming an ARC reader. Simply sign the form below to receive a free copy in a few weeks. In return, I ask that you write an honest review on Amazon once the book is released.

In The Devil Particle, government leaders attempt to save humanity by entrusting all the world’s evil to one imperfect human vessel. What could possibly go wrong?

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Kristin holding her books


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