Go to Homepage   Richard Mosher: Zazoo

 

Crescent Blues Book ViewsClarion (Hardcover), ISBN 0-61813-5340
Merely a toddler when she leaves her native Vietnam, 14-year-old Zazoo recalls little of the war that killed her parents. With the past buried beneath them, Zazoo and Grand-Pierre live in a small French village at "the Mill of A Thousand Years." There, Zazoo looks after her aging adoptive grandfather, sharing warm oatmeal, skating, and creating poetry.

Book: Richard Mosher, zazooAs Grand-Pierre's aging hastens, Zazoo lovingly attempts to fill in the blanks of his life, at least those that she knows. She offers kind reminders and recites poems he has written. Although unaware of Grand-Pierre's past, Zazoo sees the shadows it casts on the present. Something happened long ago. The villagers call Grand-Pierre a war hero, yet they keep their distance. When Zazoo attempts to gather facts from Grand-Pierre, he remains silent.

One October day, an attractive teenage boy (with a secret) bicycles into town. This boy knows much about Grand-Pierre and Monsieur Klein, the village pharmacist. Zazoo's encounter with the boy leaves her curious and desirous. At that moment, Zazoo's life changes. While Zazoo puzzles over what Grand-Pierre hides beneath his hard exterior, she wonders when she'll see her bicycle boy again. Realizing that Monsieur Klein holds the answers to her questions, Zazoo turns to him. Slowly, the past begins to surface. One by one, threads unravel to reveal mysterious connections between Marius (the bicycle boy), Grand-Pierre, Monsieur Klein, a murdered Jewish girl and Zazoo. Finally, with the past uncovered and its ghosts lain to rest, enough sunlight gets through for love, both old and new, to grow.

In Zazoo we find a pensive girl who must experience not only the pains of growing up and the horrors of war, but also the bittersweet effects of an awakened past. She lures us along her road to discovery with a voice so compelling, so beautifully poetic, that I cannot think of another who rivals her. Through Zazoo and her compassion and thoughtful conclusions, we come to see the world in a way we might not have if left to our own devices. Through Zazoo, Richard Mosher tells the war-torn stories of two old men with remarkable style and grace. His portrayal of war and its effects makes this story invaluable, particularly at this time in world history.

Unlike other novels where war overshadows both characters and plot, the story in Zazoo remains sharp and intact. As a result, the impact hits harder and closer to home. We can see the effects of war, not only upon a nation, but upon the very core of a person. Zazoo proves a memorable read, and one that will touch upon the core of us all.

Lynne Remick

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