Cloud Cuckoo Land Summary

Cloud Cuckoo

A high-quality summary of Anthony Doerr´s book Cloud Cuckoo Land, including chapter details and analysis of the main themes of the original book.

About the original Cloud Cuckoo Land book:

Anthony Doerr’s stunning third novel, set in fifteenth-century Constantinople, a small town in modern-day Idaho, and on an interstellar ship decade in the future, is a triumph of imagination and compassion, a soaring story about children on the verge of adulthood in perilous worlds who find resilience, hope, and a book. In Cloud Cuckoo Land, Doerr has created a beautiful tapestry of times and locations that illustrates our tremendous interconnectedness—with other species, each other, those who came before us, and those who will come after us.

Inside Constantinople’s sturdy walls, Anna, a thirteen-year-old orphan, lives in a home of women who make a career embroidering priests’ vestments. Anna learns to read because she is restless and insatiably curious, and she reads a book about Aethon, a man who aspires to be converted into a bird so that he can soar to a utopian paradise in the heavens, in this old city known for its libraries. She reads this to her sick sister while the walls of the only place she has ever known are pounded during the historic siege of Constantinople. Omeir, a farm boy distant from home, has been compelled to join the invading army alongside his beloved oxen. The paths of his and Anna’s lives will cross.

Zeno, an octogenarian who studied Greek as a prisoner of war, rehearses five children in a dramatic adaptation of Aethon’s story, which has survived the centuries despite all odds, in an Idaho library 500 years later. Seymour, a disturbed, idealistic adolescent, has planted a bomb among the library shelves. A new siege has started. In the not-too-distant future, Konstance is alone in a vault on the interplanetary ship Argos, copying the story of Aethon, as told to her by her father, on pieces of sacking. She’s never been to our planet.

Like Marie-Laure and Werner in All the Light We Cannot See, Anna, Omeir, Seymour, Zeno, and Konstance are visionaries and outsiders who discover creativity and optimism in the face of severe danger. Their lives are entwined intimately. Doerr’s rich imagination transports us to realms so vivid and captivating that we temporarily forget about our own. Cloud Cuckoo Land is a charming and redeeming work about the book, Earth, and human heart stewardship, dedicated to «the librarians then, now, and in the years to come.»

The following is an excerpt from the finalist citation for the National Book Award:

«The five protagonists in Anthony Doerr’s brilliant Cloud Cuckoo Land come together astonishingly in the stories they make of their lives, rewritten by time and circumstance, from the 15th century to the future.» This wonderful book is akin to an astrolabe or an armillary sphere, a navigational tool designed to help people discover the globe. Doerr’s work underscores the significance of the made thing, the vast imagination, and narrative, and it is urgent, replete with relevance and compassion.»

Cloud Cuckoo Land Summary book is written by Condensed Books.

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