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. 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).

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