Friday, 21 March 2008


SIL, Jill Harris, Longacre, 227pp, Pb, $18.95 ISBN 1-877361

Sil is a novel about a young singer preparing for a major vocal contest, despite performance nerves over his latest composition, family expectations and jealous rivals. The clever twist is that all the main characters are tui. The singing competition brings a major surprise for Sil (short for Silver Song) but this becomes unimportant when a sinister ‘big bird’ organises an invasion of the valley by magpies. Suddenly the tui face extermination. Ignore the jokes about ‘Watership Down with feathers’; Sil is an exciting and sometimes amusing animal fantasy.

Trevor Agnew

This review first appeared in The Press, Christchurch, New Zealand.

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