Birdland—a birdless land whose inhabitants pretend to be birds—is a world spilling from Lucy’s imagination. Book One is her whimsical fairy tale, a world filled with magic and silliness. When she departs Birdland, however, the world she has created is left behind to make sense of itself.

In Book Two a woman is discovered 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 pretend 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 of kindness 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.