“This is a glory of a book. As its cast of characters move us across continents and ages from ancient Greece to the present and beyond, we fall in love with the best of them—and the worst. Cloud Cuckoo Land is impossible to put down and once finished, life-changing, the kind of book you hope will come your way but almost never does. An absolute masterpiece.”
– Betsy Burton, The King’s English Bookshop
Dedicated to “the librarians then, now, and in the years to come,” Anthony Doerr’s new novel is about the power of story and the astonishing survival of physical books when for centuries their fates were so precarious, dying, as one character says, “in fires or floods or in the mouths of worms or at the whims of tyrants.”
Five children, dreamers and outsiders all, are connected by a single battered copy of a two-thousand-year-old Greek text: Cloud Cuckoo Land, the story of Aethon, who longs to be turned into a bird so that he can fly to a utopian paradise in the sky.
In the besieged city of Constantinople in 1453, in a public library in Idaho today, and on an interstellar ark bound for a distant exoplanet decades from now, each protagonist chases their own curiosities even as they struggle to survive. From the mountains of 15th century Bulgaria to a prisoner-of-war camp in North Korea in 1952 to a vast and possibly infinite library in the 22nd century, the novel weaves a tapestry that highlights our interconnectedness—with other species, with each other, and with the ones who will be here after we’re gone.
Ultimately Cloud Cuckoo Land is a paean to the extraordinary human capacity to transmit stories from generation to generation and a novel about stewardship—of books, of our shared planet, and of the human heart.
Cloud Cuckoo Land will be published by Scribner on September 28, 2021.