Anthony Doerr weaves a rich novel
In his new novel, “Cloud Cuckoo Land”, Anthony doerr manages to create a plot that begins in the days of the ancient Greeks and continues for up to 125 years into the future.
Along the way, he developed a rich list of characters: ancient Greek playwrights and a shepherd who fell in love with their creations; Anna and Omeir, two 13-year-old peasants whose lives will intersect in Constantinople and around the 15th century; Seymour, a troubled teenager, and Zeno, an octogenarian veteran, who will someday meet catastrophically in the present at a public library in Idaho; and the teenager Konstance and her family, bound for an exoplanet on an interstellar ship in the 22nd century.
Miraculously, there is a connection between all of these characters and even more miraculously, their stories blend together and merge into an exciting, textured page turner.
Inspired by Aristophanes’ comedy “The Birds”, Doerr’s tale centers on an ancient fictional text (which Doerr attributes to the real Antonius Diogenes) about Aethon, a Greek shepherd who longs to be turned into a bird and to fly to a magical land in the clouds where pain and suffering do not exist.
In various forms, the story of Aethon and the concept of a cloudy cuckoo country are discovered and viewed by the other characters in Doerr as all in their time endure war, a besieged environment, and the consequences of their own. actions.
Throughout, Doerr tells a story virtually devoid of villains and one rich in the idea that the lives of all humans are interwoven. He explored this same concept in his 2014 WWII book, “All the Light We Can’t See,” Pulitzer Prize winner.
Doerr dedicates “Cloud Cuckoo Land” to “librarians then, today and for years to come,” highlighting what his novel illustrates so well: History is a great and powerful thing.