BOOK STEW REVIEW: ‘Cloud Cuckoo Land’ by Anthony Doerr

Below is the latest Book Stew Review from Eileen MacDougall, host of the long-running Book Stew, a video and podcast devoted to writing in all forms, authors, playwrights, and even a cat who survived a tornado and wrote a book about it.

Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr

This brick of a novel (600+ pages!) holds many disparate storylines, and it was a challenge for me to keep going.

The common core is the possibly true story of an ancient manuscript featuring a fanciful tale of a peasant-turned-crow who undergoes many other transformations, including joining other sea creatures in the belly of a whale. Pulled in are two children in 1400s Constantinople, the girl who discovers the codex and a boy who is forced to go to war against the city, accompanied by his oxen Tree and Moonlight, who are by far the most olinvgly rendered characters.

There’s also a troubled boy and a watchful owl, Truefriend, and a Korean war veteran in Lakeport, Idaho in the late 1950s, and Konstance, a teenager aboard a spaceship traveling to a distant planet from the ruined Earth.

How the threads become a single braid is a process almost as fascinating as the plots themselves. I can recommend it for the fine detailed writing, and this is the perfect tome to warm a reader through the long winter.

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