The Last Illusion[em] [/em]

Porochista Khakpour. Bloomsbury, $26 (288p) ISBN 978-1-62040-304-4
The Last Illusion is Khakpour’s second novel, but it has the larky-yet-self-serious aura of a first effort. We follow Zal, born eerily pale in rural Iran, and is caged and raised as a bird by his horrified mother. Adopted and gradually socialized by a benevolent scientist named Hendricks, the half-feral Zal comes to New York in summer 2001 as an (understandably) awkward teenager still fighting a taste for carrion and a desire to fly. He falls in with two equally desperate characters: the seedy magician Bran Silber who preys on Zal’s dreams of flight and is planning a spectacular illusion called “Fall of the Towers,” and, more significantly for Zal, the quirky Asiya McDonald, whose love for him is tested by the needs of her 500-plus-pound sister, Willa, and by premonitions of an approaching terrible event. That the inevitable convergence of these plots (allegorized by Zal’s ascents and combustions) is drawn out for some time could be considered a cheap shot at pre-9/11 nostalgia, and it becomes clear that the magical-realist elements aren’t convincing. Strip them away and you have a familiar, indie-cinema sort of love story, set in a stylized New York with a few swaths of memorable writing. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/24/2014
Release date: 05/13/2014
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-4088-5860-8
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-1-4088-5859-2
Hardcover - 336 pages - 978-1-4088-5857-8
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-1-62040-306-8
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