Review: The Last Illusion by Porochista Khakpour


lastillusionZal Hendricks seems at first glance an unlikely hero for a coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of New York in the three years leading to the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.

Born in Iran to a woman who has lost her mind, Zal is raised as an over-large and flightless bird and kept in a cage until, at 10 years old, he’s rescued and brought to the United States by a lonely behavioral analyst obsessed with feral children.

Despite the magically tinged and outsized tragedies that befall Zal in his early life and follow him through Porochista Khakpour’s second novel, “The Last Illusion,” he manages to exhibit the needs and desires of most coming-of-age protagonists: to find love, to find himself, to face and then survive the treachery of others who might exploit him and his story, to be normal.

And failing that, to appear to be normal.

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