Excerpt from Cloud Sketcher by Richard Rayner, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Cloud Sketcher

by Richard Rayner

Cloud Sketcher by Richard Rayner X
Cloud Sketcher by Richard Rayner
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Feb 2001, 448 pages
    Mar 2002, 448 pages

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Timo Vaananen's mission was to teach Esko everything. At the village school, where Timo was one of the two teachers, this wasn't so bad. In school, at least, learning did not involve slaps. There was safety in numbers, and surrounded by the other kids, his head always deep in a book, Esko had only to pretend to negotiate the laws of geometry, algebra, trigonometry, the triumphs and sadnesses of Finnish history, the subtleties of Swedish, Finnish, and, because it was now the law, Russian, and the dirgelike chanting rhythms of "Kalevala," the national epic poem. "Kalevala" had Vainamoinen, the poet, the sorcerer who creates the world and defeats his enemies through the power of song; it had Aino, a beautiful maiden who spurns him; it had Lemminkainen, a fellow who lies and kidnaps and plays tricks; it had the doomed and sad Kullervo. Esko looked at "Kalevala" and saw a world that was familiar to the one he knew. In 1901, a time of simmering rebellion and nationalistic fervor, there were those who preached that the poem was also the literally true account of Finland in times gone by, an idea that appealed to little Esko, and one that appalled Timo, who preferred his history tinged a different color.

At night, at home, now that school was out, there was no pretense of scientific or scholarly rigor. Timo came on full and furious. Sometimes he stared silently at Esko for minutes on end, daring him to give a wrong answer.

  • 1
  • 2

The Cloud Sketcher. Copyright (c) 2001 by Richard Rayner. Reprinted with permission from HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: A Land of Permanent Goodbyes
    A Land of Permanent Goodbyes
    by Atia Abawi

    When you're a refugee, everyone has lost, at least for the time being... And the journey ...

  • Book Jacket: Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
  • Book Jacket: Eat the Apple
    Eat the Apple
    by Matt Young
    Truth is stranger than fiction. Matt Young's memoir tackles the space in between truth and ...
  • Book Jacket: Educated
    by Tara Westover
    Tara Westover had the kind of upbringing most of us can only imagine. She was the youngest of seven ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano

    A charming, bighearted novel starring Auntie Poldi, Sicily's newest amateur sleuth.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Sometimes I Lie
    by Alice Feeney

    This brilliant psychological thriller asks: Is something a lie if you believe it's the truth?
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Balcony

The Balcony
by Jane Delury

A century-spanning novel-in-stories of a French village brimming with compassion, natural beauty, and unmistakable humanity.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

I Y L D W D, Y'll G U W Fleas

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.