“The city of clouds and birds” by Anthony Doerr: the book in transmission – Benzine Magazine

Revealed by the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for All the light we can’t see, Anthony Doerr returns seven years later with a dizzying novel. The story of an ancient manuscript, object of transmission between eras, in an ode to the world of books and the imagination.

© Deborah Hardee standing

They have the same initials, have a similar first name and surely a common passion for fiction. One lived in Ancient Greece and discovered a manuscript: Antoine Diogenes. The other is Anthony Doerr himself, who relied on the real story of Antoine Diogene’s discovery, reported in his novel. The mythical content of the codex will here become “The City of Clouds and Birds”, invented by Antoine Doerr (the real codex is indecipherable), which will serve as the vault and entrance to the 24 parts. But if the two authors are thus linked through the centuries, they will not be alone. This will also be the case for the five main characters of the novel, with the famous manuscript as an object of relay between their hands, their minds or their destinies.

The city of clouds and birdsAmong the 5, there is Konstance whom we discover in an unknown space-time for our usual landmarks, aboard capsule number 1 of the Argos, Year 65 of the mission. She and other humans presumably sorted out of what was left are on their way to Beta Oph2, located 42,399 light-years away. Suffice to say that she and her friends are not ready to arrive, they will not even see the color of this dream planet. It is the descendants who will benefit from it. But what matters is the transmission and regeneration of the species, somewhere where this will be possible. And they can believe it, the means are there: Sybil the robot dictates their life, the digitized library is an abyssal source where even the opening of the Atlas allows, thanks to the Perambulator, to move virtually in the disappeared terrestrial worlds .

Then Anna and Omeir straight out of the 15th century. An orphan in Constantinople works in an embroidery workshop and escapes into the stories of Licinius, dreams of telling stories like him by decoding the mysterious symbols. Omeir, meanwhile, was born 300 km from Constantinople with a split mouth, narrowly escaped the fear he aroused and abandonment by his grandfather in the snowy countryside.

Finally Zeno, at the age of 80, goes to the Lakeport library on February 20, 2020. He has an appointment with five CM2 students to work with them on the last details of “The City of Clouds and Birds”, whose public performance will take place the following day. But without knowing it, he also has another date. At 17, Seymour also goes to the library, but not with the intention of discovering books there, nor of resting his incessant hyperacusis. Even though he’s been here before, to the Non Fiction section in particular, to learn more about owls when he was eight or nine years old. No, on this February 20 at 4:54 p.m., Seymour is decked out in his noise-canceling headphones and a huge dark green bag, and he has a simple mission: ” Go in quietly, hide the bag, come out casually. Then drive due north, wait for the library to close, dial the first two numbers. Let it ring five times. Boom. »

Five characters in distant space-times, as many bios revealed little by little, all subject to questions and intrigues, made fascinating under the fertile and multi-genre pen ofAntoine Doerr. But little by little the contours of a much larger, coherent and unique whole will also emerge, like Anna’s memories at the end of her life: “… these memories are mixed with those of the stories that loved the most: Ulysses sick with nostalgia who abandons his raft in the storm to swim towards the Isle of the Phaeacians, Aethon-turned-donkey stuffing pungent nettles into his delicate mouth, and finally, all eras and all the stories become one”.

Here will remain the story of a vertiginous novel with an unexpected end, in an ode to literature and the imagination, to the world of books and libraries. It questions the disappearance of eras with the implicit end of humanity and its remains, eras and characters linked by the Diogenes codex with constant resonance. As if stories were essential to humanity, and their transmission its main characteristic.

The city of clouds and birds by Anthony Doerr the

Eric Medous

The City of Clouds and Birds
French novel by Anthony Doerr
Publisher: Albin Michel
704 pages – 24.90€ / 15.99€
Release date: September 14, 2022

We would like to give thanks to the author of this post for this incredible content

“The city of clouds and birds” by Anthony Doerr: the book in transmission – Benzine Magazine