Ishmael is a boy in a war-torn country who
loses his arms in a bomb blast and receives two prosthetic
limbs through the help of an anonymous benefactor.
Ishmael soon discovers that his new arms can do things he’s never
been able to do before. When he throws a stone at a crow and nearly
kills it, he suddenly understands that he, too, can inflict pain.
He and the crow become inseparable friends, and Ishmael
vows to protect the injured bird as best as he can.

Throughout the course of the book, dream and reality interweave as the
story of Ishmael’s injury, hospital sojourns, and operation alternates with
the parallel narrative of a magical odyssey in blue: Ishmael gazes into a tiny
bubble and discovers himself unharmed and happy and laughing with a talking bird,
only to find himself tumbling into the glistening bubble and stumbling around its
slippery interior beneath the huge eye of a fish peering in from the outside.

The bird’s wing is broken; Ishmael fears it will never be able to fly again.
What he doesn’t know is that the crow carries a burden of its own. The crow makes a
promise to itself before hurrying off to a great meeting of birds that recalls both
Farid ud-Din Attar’s 12th-century Persian poem The Conference of the Birds, an allegory for the human search for truth and God, and Erich Kästner’s post-World War Two classic
Conference of the Animals, a bitterly ironic story that envisions
the animals of the world gathering together in a huge conference
to find a way to help the human race out of its terrible mess.