Book Rating (131)
Narrator Rating (36)

Cloud Cuckoo Land: A Novel

Unabridged Audio Book

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Simon Jones, Marin Ireland

14 Hours 52 Minutes

Simon & Schuster Audio

September 2021

Audio Book Summary

AudioFile Magazine’s Best Audiobooks of 2021

On the New York Times bestseller list for 19 weeks * A New York Times Notable Book * A Barack Obama Favorite * A National Book Award Finalist * Named a Best of the Year by Fresh Air, Time, Entertainment Weekly, Associated Press, and many more—one of the ten books that appeared on the most lists for 2021

“If you’re looking for a superb novel, look no further.” —The Washington Post

From the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of All the Light We Cannot See, comes the instant New York Times bestseller that is a “wildly inventive, a humane and uplifting book for adults that’s infused with the magic of childhood reading experiences” (The New York Times Book Review).

Among the most celebrated and beloved novels of 2021, Anthony Doerr’s gorgeous third novel is a triumph of imagination and compassion, a soaring story about children on the cusp of adulthood in worlds in peril, who find resilience, hope—and a book. In Cloud Cuckoo Land, Doerr has created a magnificent tapestry of times and places that reflects our vast interconnectedness—with other species, with each other, with those who lived before us, and with those who will be here after we’re gone.

Thirteen-year-old Anna, an orphan, lives inside the formidable walls of Constantinople in a house of women who make their living embroidering the robes of priests. Restless, insatiably curious, Anna learns to read, and in this ancient city, famous for its libraries, she finds a book, the story of Aethon, who longs to be turned into a bird so that he can fly to a utopian paradise in the sky. This she reads to her ailing sister as the walls of the only place she has known are bombarded in the great siege of Constantinople. Outside the walls is Omeir, a village boy, miles from home, conscripted with his beloved oxen into the invading army. His path and Anna’s will cross.

Five hundred years later, in a library in Idaho, octogenarian Zeno, who learned Greek as a prisoner of war, rehearses five children in a play adaptation of Aethon’s story, preserved against all odds through centuries. Tucked among the library shelves is a bomb, planted by a troubled, idealistic teenager, Seymour. This is another siege. And in a not-so-distant future, on the interstellar ship Argos, Konstance is alone in a vault, copying on scraps of sacking the story of Aethon, told to her by her father. She has never set foot on our planet.

Like Marie-Laure and Werner in All the Light We Cannot See, Anna, Omeir, Seymour, Zeno, and Konstance are dreamers and outsiders who find resourcefulness and hope in the midst of gravest danger. Their lives are gloriously intertwined, and Doerr’s dazzling imagination transports us to worlds so dramatic and immersive that we forget, for a time, our own. Dedicated to “the librarians then, now, and in the years to come,” Cloud Cuckoo Land is a beautiful and redemptive novel about stewardship—of the book, of the Earth, of the human heart.

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  • Kristen N.

    What an amazing tale, interwoven beautifully, fascinating characters on all storylines and just great fiction. This narrator was INCREDIBLE. She absolutely NAILED the voices without being annoying or over-acted. A rare talent. I want to listen to this again and I rarely have that urge.

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  • GJerryG

    Took a long time to come together for me but I was intrigued enough to grind through…and very glad I did. A clever novel with compelling characters. Really glad I stuck with it!

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  • Molly Z.

    I had high hopes. This was terrible.

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  • Mitch S.

    This book is a bit confusing at first but the author ties different story lines together beautifully. The prose is beautiful.

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  • Nicolas V.

    So so so so good. I really loved this book. So beautiful funny and moving. Everything about this is excellent.

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  • Anonymous

    I was intrigued at the beginning of story by the way the main character simplified her life, saved money, and then went off on her adventure. Then the story became mundane, and nothing much happened in the end.

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  • Sally M.

    Could not get into this story despite 3 tries. Narrator was good. Disappointed.

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  • Nancy G.

    Fabulous storytelling! Initially it seemed to be several very different tales and it was hard to imagine how they related. In the end they were woven together beautifully and as a reader it was such fun to see that come about.

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  • Connie W.

    Anthony Doerr can write but this book is a hot mess. Not entirely sure what he was going for, but whatever it was, it didn’t need 640 pages to get there. Characters were not developed sufficiently for me to invest in caring about them. Where was the editing? Would not recommend.

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  • Ada H.

    Unless u can listen to this book on a long ride, I would not do it via audiobook, its too confusing. Between the storyline jumps and start stopping on a audiobook, it was too confusing and wasn't enjoyable.

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