Sunday, 30 March 2008

Zillah Penelope Todd

ZILLAH Penelope Todd, Longacre, 183 pages, paperback, $18.99
ISBN 978-1-877361-73-9

“Zillah suddenly ached for the simple, lovely stupidity of childhood.”

The Watermark trilogy, which now concludes with Zillah, began when Zillah, a troubled young girl, first came to Roimata, on the West Coast, as part of a personal challenge. Those who have read Penelope Todd’s Watermark (2003) and Dark (2004) will be pleased that Zillah, now 20, has returned to the bush and river of Roimata. This time, instead of the peace she expects, she finds landing-craft and gunfire; a film is being made on the beach and river.

Zillah heads into the bush, anxious to purge herself of troubling memories from her OE in Spain.
Eventually she manages to meet up again with Joseph (Joss) but a troubling encounter with a pair of crass hunters and Martin, a deeply troubled conspiracy theorist, make Zillah’s attempts to rekindle their love seem in vain.

This series has always had a dark, uneasy side and it takes a united effort for Zillah and Joseph to achieve the emotional tranquillity that has always seemed to elude them. Older teens will find this novel, which can stand by itself, a rewarding conclusion to a sometimes uncomfortable series.

Trevor Agnew

This review first appeared in The Press, Christchurch NZ, on 16th February 2008.

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