The story appears to be a simple parable of all the birds in the world deciding to search for their true king, Simorgh, urged on by their leader, Hoopoe.
Come on, you brave birds!
Let’s glide, let’s fly, let’s soar.
Love loves difficult things.
We’re on our way!
But it’s actually so much more than that: The Conference of the Birds has the look and feel of a gorgeous children’s picture book, yet it tackles some of the deepest philosophical questions humans can ask: Who are we? What is truth? What is the nature of God?
The simplicity of the language and the childlike illustrations probably make comparisons to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince inevitable. And the book certainly shares a dreamy quality with that famous novella. But The Conference of the Birds lacks the character development that makes The Little Prince so poignant and touching – I didn’t bond with the individual birds enough to feel sad when they dropped from the flock, or feel joy when they reached their goal.
I think where this book really succeeds is in bringing a central concept of Sufism – the concept of God within each individual – to a Western audience. That, and in the enjoyment of Sis’ gorgeous illustrations. This book is highly recommended for readers interested in mysticism, mythology or Persian culture. And also for lovers of the book as art. And also lovers of poetry.
I read this book as part of TLC’s book tour, and received a copy of it in return for my honest opinion. I encourage you to check out these other stops on the tour:
Tuesday, November 1st: Bibliophiliac
Wednesday, November 2nd: Book Snob
Monday, November 7th: Sarah Reads Too Much
Tuesday, November 8th: Library Queue
Wednesday, November 9th: Savvy Verse & Wit
Thursday, November 10th: Col Reads
Tuesday, November 15th: Wordsmithonia
Wednesday, November 16th: Hungry Like the Woolf
Wednesday, November 16th: Melody & Words
Monday, November 21st: Unabridged Chick
Thursday, November 22nd: Seven Impossible Things
Monday, November 28th: Alexandra Boiger
Tuesday, November 29th: Abigail Halpin
Wednesday, December 14th: Layers of Thought