Cloud Cuckoo Land & Peisetairos

I love books. I love getting lost in a book and I hate when good ones end. This book though — this book is on a level that I cannot articulate. I have never had a favorite book but by the mid point, I knew that had changed forever. It only took me 20hrs or so over three days of vacation to devour this 600+ page monster. And I saved the last 50 for today because I couldn’t bear for it to end.

It’s a genre-bending, millennia-spanning, nature appreciating, book loving, fantastical epic about time, the power of a story, and the connectedness of languages across ages past and future. By the final chapters, I was crying so hard, I thought I might not recover.

It makes no sense to try to describe it. I sound like a deranged person.

The characters both human and animal will stay with me. There is an owl called Trustyfriend (Peisetairos) by a central character, a boy turned man who needs noise cancelling headphones to block out the world. Like me.

I renamed my Bose headphones from Peaches to Peisetairos today because I originally got them a few months after I had started seeing John and “Peaches” seemed appropriate then. For the past four months, when I turn on my headphones to walk to work and I see “connected to Peaches” pop up on my phone, it makes me ill. I’m not ashamed to say that my headphones – for peace, for podcasts, for music – are the closest thing to Trustyfriend that I have now so it seems like an appropriate new moniker. They block out bits of the world that are unpleasant, the loudest bits anyway. In the whole book, that’s the character that resonated the most.

If you can stick with it through the initial time jumps, you’ll understand what I mean with my praise here. Mostly, I want you to read it so I can have someone to talk to about it. Okay? Great. Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.

That’s what gods do, they spin threads of ruin through the fabric of our lives, all to make a song for generations to come.

– Zeno Ninis, Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr