Do you like dual timelines in a novel? What about three or more timelines?
Cloud Cuckoo Land has three distinct timelines, but there are other timelines throughout. The novel starts in 2020 with a young man getting a bomb ready to go off at a library where young children are putting on a play, Cloud Cuckoo Land. The novel flashes back in time for a couple of key players in this timeline to build up why these characters are here and give background to the choices they will make. This includes Seymour, a young misunderstood boy who grows into a young man that is recruited by eco-terrorists, and Zeno, an old Korean War veteran who is working on the translation of Cloud Cuckoo Land.
Another timeline is in Constantinople in 1453. Anna is an orphan and seamstress who is trying to help out her sister, Maria. She takes manuscripts from an old crumbling abbey and sells them to make money. This is how the manuscript of Cloud Cuckoo Land is rescued. Omeir is a young peasant boy born with a cleft palate. He is recruited by the sultan to drive his team of oxen to help overtake Constantinople. There his and Anna’s story will collide.
In the future Konstance is on an intergenerational spaceship traveling toward a new home. She is intrigued by everything and wants to learn as much as she can.
There was a lot going on in this novel. It was the July pick for the Page-turners Book Club at the Kewaunee Public Library. It gave us a lot to discuss. I felt like when I would start to get into a story line, I would be disappointed to move to another point of view. I learned that one of my book club members would stay with that viewpoint and read through the novel which I thought was an interesting way to do it.
I thought the book was very interesting, beautifully written, and a unique storyline. I felt vested in the characters that thought that the ending was masterfully pulled together. It was a good book.
I started to read this book on audiobook, but I found that it worked better for me to read it on my Kindle to keep track of all of the different storylines. Another book club member listened and read the novel. The narrators in the audiobook were excellent.
Book Source: Thank-you to Simon Schuster Audiobooks and Netgalley.