Birdland—a birdless land whose inhabitants pretend to be birds—is a world spilling from Lucy’s imagination. Lucy will turn nine in two days and is determined to use up the last of her childish irresponsibility adventuring with her dog. Book One is her whimsical fairy tale, a world filled with magic and silliness. But when she departs Birdland, the world she has created is left in her wake to make sense of itself.
Book Two picks up the thread two years later. A woman with no memory is found on the beach by Pierrot, a Birdlander, who convinces himself and others that she’s the grown up Lucy. Has she returned? Or do these imagined creatures imagine their creator? Caught up in a swirl of academic conceits, Pierrot bundles “Lucy” out of his fairy tale world and back into her “real” world. But nothing in this version of reality makes sense to the birdman. Falde is a place where civil war is raging and people wearing cardboard beaks are routinely locked up in asylums.
Book Three is the lizard’s tail grown so long that it drops off and grows a new lizard. A small gesture from Lucy opens up unimagined worlds for a group of gullible academics. As much as Birdland is an allegorical tale about loss of innocence, it is also a meditation on otherness, and on reality as a shared construct. Birdland makes no sense from the outside but its internal logic is impeccable. Pierrot is the archetypal migrant, a stranger in a strange land, asked to swap his culture for another but losing both in the transaction. Lucy has no culture—for her, the flight from reality has always been home.
When People Unite is a book in two parts. The first part is a non-fictional account of the struggle in the United States for a "government of, for and by the people." The term originated 100 years after the founding of the United States, during the Civil War, but never really described the political realities. The United States has always been a country run by and for the elite, despite attempts to make it be (or appear) otherwise.
The second part is a fictional imagining of what the people of the United States could do if they united around the goal of creating both economic and political systems for the country designed to work for the people and designed to meet the fundamental needs of a diverse, complex society. This second book concludes with an exploration of what a transition to such systems might look like and how public policy decisions might be made in a country run by and for the people.