Cuckoo Cloud Land, a review by Amy

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Cuckoo Cloud Land
Anthony Doerr

656 pages
Available: September 28, 2021

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A complete triumph. A literary marvel.

I am in awe of what Doerr has accomplished. Weaving together three separate stories of differing timeframe and genre with one impeccable strand of mythology, Doerr creates something that is both seamless and poignant.

There is good writing. And then there is this. This is in a league of its own.

Doerr’s messages in this masterpiece are both timeless and necessary for the time we are in:
πŸ•° Humanity is, and always has been, connected through time and across generations. While it often seems that we are small pieces in the grand puzzle, each puzzle piece is necessary to the picture as a whole. And the effects of our role can be felt both singularly and in the plural of society.
πŸ“š Great power and solace is harnessed within literature. As society has struggled through the first pandemic of my lifetime, I have found great comfort in literature. I loved seeing our main characters respond in the same vein. The dedication of this book to all librarians is apt and warranted.

At nearly 700 pages, this book is both an experience and a commitment. Doerr adeptly moves between the differing narratives, POV, and timeframes in short vignettes that are well paced and engaging. That kept me immersed in the novel, allowing me to finish the novel much quicker than anticipated (especially given the chaotic nature of my schedule!).

While I consider this a literary masterpiece, there were portions that became a tad bogged down in detail. And there was one storyline that didn’t resonate with me to the degree of the others. However, those minor shortcomings in no way interfered with my overall enjoyment of the book. To me, this is a work best viewed and critiqued as a whole rather than in the minutiae. Just as paintings often have minor flaws that can be seen up close yet the overall work reveals beauty and perfection, so is true of this novel.

As I sit writing this review, the world feels dark and heavy. The world cycles through grim challenges (war, disease, famine and poverty, disinformation, climate change). As Doerr extrapolates through these stories, it has happened all throughout history, continues now, and will into the future. But through this novel, I am reminded that hope and connectedness are also timeless and ultimately more powerful than whatever grim circumstances we may face.

Thank you Anthony Doerr, Scribner, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review an advanced copy of this book.

Add this one to your list, friends. Β It’s worth the endeavor!


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