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Pulitzer-Winning Author Takes Seven Years To Write New Book

February 10, 2021

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr came out in 2014, and it was pretty successful. The novel won a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and it was a bestseller for a long time. I even finished reading it. It was pretty good.

2014 was a few years ago, and Doerr finally has a new novel coming out. Some authors use a book’s success to write new books as quickly as possible to cash in while their names are hot. I appreciate Anthony Doerr for taking his time

When you write a Pulitzer Prize winning novel, it’s tough to do a follow up because readers expect something great, maybe even something similar. Or maybe it’s easy to do a follow up because you know a bunch of people will buy it. Actually, I wouldn’t know because I’ve never written a Pulitzer Prize winning novel, so I’m just speculating.

Maybe Pulitzer Prize winning authors don’t give a crap.


Anthony Doerr fans can appreciate a substantial plot. His most recent novel, 2014’s All the Light We Cannot See, explored the destruction and trauma wreaked on Europe by World War II and German occupation through two competing story lines: one about a blind girl forced to flee with her family from Paris to the Brittany coast, the other about an orphaned boy who enters a military academy and becomes a tracker for the Resistance. The effort won him legions of new fans and the Pulitzer Prize, and now the author returns six years later with another Herculean effort.

EW is exclusively announcing that Doerr’s next novel is Cloud Cuckoo Land, which spans three different narratives and thousands of years: the 1453 siege of Constantinople, following characters Anna and Omeir as they navigate life on opposite sides of the city’s wall; present-day Idaho as teenage Seymour and elderly Zeno experience an attack on a local public library; and far into the future, as Konstance barrels on a spaceship towards an exoplanet. All three timelines have a connection, of course, but we’ll let you read the book for that. The novel won’t hit shelves until Sept. 28, but in addition to the book’s cover (above), we have an excerpt to give you a taste — read on for more of Cloud Cuckoo Land.

Read more at First look Anthony Doerr’s new novel Cloud Cuckoo Land |


I don’t know about you, but I’m purposely not reading the excerpt yet. If I like the excerpt, I don’t want to wait until September to read the whole thing. If I don’t like it, then I look like a jerk for criticizing a book that’s not out yet.

I don’t like the title Cloud Cuckoo Land. It sounds like a children’s book. I feel comfortable judging a title before the book comes out. Maybe we’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but judging the title is okay. I’m not even judging the book yet, so back off!

Again, I appreciate an author who lets seven years go by between books. Time doesn’t guarantee quality, but I like the odds. Maybe come up with a better title, though. Cloud Cuckoo Land? Ugh.


Enough about me! What do you think? How long should authors take to finish a book? What do you think of the title Cloud Cuckoo Land?

  1. Well, it took Doerr ten years to write All the Light We Cannot See, so I’m expecting this book to be only 70% as good. And if the title is any indicator, that number might go down.

    • You’re probably right; if he’d taken ten years with this new novel, he would have come up with a better title.

      Seven years, pffft, what a rush job!

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