Cloud Cuckoo Land

Anthony Doerr

Fiction 2021, 623 pages

Yesterday I stepped out of my kayak in a rocky cove and my feet sank more than a foot in wet sand.  I nearly lost a shoe.  I feel as though my feet are like this, reading Cloud Cuckoo Land ... stuck in mushy sand.  I keep trying to wend my way through this novel (especially since it's our September "Casting Crew Book Club" read) but I fear I will not succeed.  I am on page 234 of 623 pages, and I find it a chore every time I pick up this large tome.

There are parallel stories of Anna and also Omier in Constantinople in the 1443; and Seymour in Idaho in 2020; and Zeno in 2020 and also fighting in the Korean War in 1953; and Konstance, some millennia in the future, on a spaceship.  They are tied together, very loosely so far, by an ancient text.  But I find the characters singularly unilluminating.  Each time we return to one, I have to pause and go back to remember who the character is and why they matter.

I (momentarily) perceive myself as not very scholarly, struggling with this long, disjointed, and not engaging book, as though, if I were smarter, I would enjoy it more. I know it has won awards, but I have way too many books on my shelf and it has taken me about ten days to make it this far, and I am about to abandon this disappointment.  Perhaps I will have a more enlightened and positive view after our book club discussion, but right now I cannot in good conscience recommend Cloud Cuckoo Land. 

With my apologies, Linda!  Sigh.

September 2022


6 responses on “Cloud Cuckoo Land

  1. Kathy Payne

    Kathy Payne

    5:36 PM (2 hours ago)

    to (via
    Hi Andrea,

    Just read your comments on CCL. I found it a bit trying the first few hundred pages too but kept at it; it is my book club read this month also. I was glad I did. I promise the storyline does come together at the end. Every character had a part in the outcome.

    I agree, it was way too long but was worth the effort for me. I ended up caring about each character and was rooting for them all. Maybe not so much Seymour as he was a bit overwhelming for me. But, that boy counted in the end.

    Just my thoughts. Love your reviews. Thanks for including me.

    Sorry about your muddy shoe incident.


  2. Donna

    I agree. Tried for weeks to “like” this book. Could not. One of the few books I just abandoned

  3. Rene

    Hi Andrea,
    It was a bit of a slog getting into it, but I decided to go wherever Doerr took me, and not worry too much about the many characters. So I lightened up and went with the flow and ended up really enjoying the main story lines and caring for the main characters. I thought it was well worth sticking with it, and I ended up giving it a 4-star rating (of 5).

    1. Andrea Sigetich Post author

      You area better woman than me!! I bet my entire book club finishes it, too ….