Tuesday, November 15, 2011
The Conference of Birds by Peter Sis
If I ever had a reason to ban ereaders for all of eternity, it would be this book. Peter Sis' adaptation of Farid ud-Din Attar's epic, 4500 plus line poem, The Conference of Birds, uses some of the most gorgeous images I've ever had the privilege to behold. The images some in simple hues, others in sumptuous colors, leap off the page and tell the story more than the words.
I was not familiar with the poem before this, and what little of it I have experienced by reading this adaptation, makes me want to read the entire poem. It tells the story of a hoopoe bird that gathers all of his kin from around the world in a quest to find their true king, Simorgh. All the birds from around the globe meet together and the hoopoe convince them to take part in the journey. Many of them fall away through despair of cowardice along the way, many of them die, and only a few of them make it to the mountain of Kar where Simorgh is said to reside.
Along the way the birds must travel through seven valleys that test their emotional, intellectual, and spiritual levels. The Valleys of Quest, Love, Understanding, Detachment, Unity, Amazement, and Death all have their own perils but it's only through making that journey that the remaining birds are prepared to accept the final outcome. Simorgh, the true king, has already been found. He resides in each one of the birds, it's their better, noble nature that they discover, but only through a journey of self discovery first.
The few poetic words that Peter Sis uses in this book are really just their to accent the richness of the illustrations. It's in the tea stained pages, or the labyrinths in each of the valleys that really tell the story. The book is full of symbols and other visual storytelling techniques that keep the eye on the beauty of it all as each page is turned. The tactile nature of the pages, the texture and thickness of it just helped the process along.
This will be a book that stays around my house for a very long time to come. It's one that is truly a honor to own and one that I can't wait to share with others.
I would like to thank Trish of TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to read/review this book. Please visit the tour page to read other reviews.