Written By: Anthony Doerr

Narrated By: Simon Jones, Marin Ireland

Date: September 2021

Duration: 14 hours 52 minutes


AudioFile Magazine’s Best Audiobooks of 2021

A New York Times Notable Book, a Barack Obama favorite, selected as a Top 10 Book of the Year by Fresh Air, Time, and Entertainment Weekly, and a Best Book of the Year by Goodreads Choice Awards, the Associated Press, and many more

The instant New York Times bestseller and finalist for the 2021 National Book Award is “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).

From the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of All the Light We Cannot See, perhaps the most bestselling and beloved literary fiction of our time, comes Cloud Cuckoo Land.

Set in Constantinople in the fifteenth century, in a small town in present-day Idaho, and on an interstellar ship decades from now, 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. 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.

From the National Book Award finalist citation:

“From the 15th century to the future, the five protagonists in Anthony Doerr’s brilliant Cloud Cuckoo Land come together astonishingly in the stories they make of their lives, rewritten by time and circumstance. This marvelous book is like an astrolabe or an armillary sphere; a navigation instrument engineered to discover the world. Urgent, rife with relevance and compassion, Doerr’s novel affirms the necessity of the made thing, the capacious imagination, and storytelling.”


  • 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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Paige G.

    Great story and good narration. This book can be a bit confusing until you get a good grasp on all the main characters, but it’s totally worth it once you get going. Really enjoyed listening and finished this book in just a few days bc it was so hard to stop!

  • Mitch S.

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

  • Nicolas V.

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

  • 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.

Cloud Cuckoo Land: A Novel

by Anthony Doerr

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