For anyone who loves novels that stimulate awareness of the incredible unity-in-diversity we live in, Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr is a wonderful addition to world literature. It is, I believe, a celebration of how human imagination, at its best, is both uniquely personal and profoundly collaborative and unifying. It also reminds me of these famous words by William Blake (from Auguries of Innocence): “Joy and woe are woven fine, A clothing for the soul divine. Under every grief and pine, Runs a joy with silken twine.” Surely, the finest novels depict the inseparability of “joy and woe” (and other supposed opposites) in a life-enhancing, rejuvenating way, just as this book does. And isn't it the case that the best of the best do this by making the overarching conception and construction of the book reflect its individual elements, again, just as Cloud Cuckoo Land does.
At a time when our world desperately needs uplifting reflections of human creativity, this novel is a magnificent gift, and certainly deserves all the accolades it has received.
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Living in the middle of things involves a willingness