Cloud Cuckoo Land should be put into the book equivalent of the Hall of Fame right now. Barnes and Nobel should start selling 25 different special editions of Cloud Cuckoo Land, all those lists of the 100 best books of all time need to add it, and all the books you must read before you die articles have to start including it. Those are the rules.
As a personal rule I always have trouble listing what my favorite anything is. My go to answer has become the next one because I am certain I haven’t found it yet, but while reading Cloud Cuckoo Land I kept feeling like this was a book written just for me. It dealt with themes I think about often. Stuff like the depth of history, how much of our history has been lost, and, of course, books and literature.
Cloud Cuckoo Land begins with what feels like a disjointed and somewhat unconnected story. It takes place over multiple time-lines and examines the lives of five main characters. by the end of the book every character feels intimately connected. The true plot of Cloud Cuckoo Land isn’t about any of its characters, as well fleshed out and crafted as they are. It is instead the story of a lost book titled Cloud Cuckoo Land.
Cloud Cuckoo Land is an Ancient Greek story that has found its way to an abandoned priory in Constantinople. Around the time of the fall of the city a young girl steals the book to sell to some Italian merchants interested in rare books, but they flee the city before she can deliver it.
From there the book travels a great distance transforming from book back to oral tradition and finally back to a book again in the distant future. Cloud Cuckoo Land is a story about stories. About how they reach us, how they survive, how they help us survive, and how they connect us to our humanity.
Of all the books I have read over the past few years this one is my favorite. I don’t know if I am willing to say it is my favorite book of all time or what I’d consider the best book ever, but it is the best book I remember reading recently, and that has to count for something.