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.