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Cloud Cuckoo Land

One of my favorite books is All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr. So, when Doerr came out with his next work, Cloud Cuckoo Land, I had to read it, despite the wacky name.

In All the Light We Cannot See, Doerr creates two characters whose World War II story arcs alternate between chapters until near the end of the book when they come together. In Cloud Cuckoo Land, Doerr ups the ante with five major characters spanning time in the 15th, 20th, 21st, and even into the 22nd centuries. He keeps you guessing how they will connect to near the end of the over 600 pages of the novel. I kept guessing but was wrong most of the time.

The common glue is the tale of Cloud Cuckoo Land, a Greek tale by Antonius Diogenes about Aethon, a shepherd on a quest to find the fabled paradise in the sky. Reading the author notes at the end, you find that there is no proof that Diogenes wrote such a tale, but that many of his works are lost. So, who knows?

The thing that kept me engaged is the writing. Doerr is a master of the craft. The descriptive detail is mystical. I appreciated each story as a stand-alone tale. Early on, I researched reviews of the book to see how these stories could be related. You are reading this, so you know they are not, at least not until the end.

So, carve out time to read a long novel, sit back, and enjoy.

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Jackson Coppley

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