Though originally intended for a select audience, the work's simple, engaging style has won it widespread popularity since its rediscovery more than a century ago. The Cloud puts forth a method of contemplation that stresses the impotence of the understanding to break through the cloud of unknowing that separates God and humanity. Rather, "it is love alone that can reach God in this life".
In his preface to this volume, Simon Tugwell sums up the challenge that the author of The Cloud presents us today: "If we wish to follow him, we must be prepared to be taxed to the limit. But if we have the courage and the ability to follow him, we shall not find that our efforts has been in vain."