Book: Cloud Cuckoo Land
Author: Anthony Doerr
This is my 85th read for the year
This book spans three timelines and tells 5 stories. In Constantinople in the 15th century where a young boy with a cleft lip and palate Omeir comes into the world and isn't expected to live. Near by an orphan named Anna begs a local teacher to teach her to read. On a hunt one night, she discovers a book- the story of Aethon who longs to be turned into a bird.
500 years later - in a small town of Idaho, the stories of Seymour and Zeno unfold. Zeno - an octogenarian who has taught a group of children the story of Aethon - has come to the library in his small town to rehearse a play the children will be doing based on the book. Tucked away in the shelves of the library is a bomb that has been placed there by a troubled Seymour.
Decades in the future - Konstance is on an interstellar ship called the Argos. Earth has become uninhabitable, and the ship is carrying humans to their new home. At the age of 14, Konstance - like all other kids on the ship before her - gains her "library day" and can now ask any question she has and the ship will give her the answer. As she starts to delve deeper, she discovers a secret that will change everything.
Soon it becomes clear how these lives all intertwine: The book and the story of Aethon.
This was a fantastic book. I am a big fan of Anthony Doerr - All The Light We Cannot See remains one of my favorite books. This one was just as fabulous. It is a slow burn, and you do wonder for a bit how these stories are going to fit together. Be patient because it is worth it. As the story unfolds, and we see how the people fit together around a book and story that is over 1000 years old, the magic is revealed. The writing is superb. The ending pulls it all together (with an epilogue - my favorite ending).