Luminous writing marks Phillips' latest
I just finished reading Jayne Anne Phillips' latest novel, Lark and Termite, which is one of the best books I've read in the past year. Her language sings. The story moves back and forth between a week in July, 1950 and 1959. During the earlier week, soldier Robert Leavitt is slowly dying in a tunnel during the Korean War. In 1959, Lark, a daughter by a different father and Termite, her half-brother and Leavitt's son, are living with their aunt Nonie in a small town in West Virginia. Phillips masterfully weaves these two stories together: the tunnel where Leavitt dies, helped by a North Korean girl and her blind brother and the tunnel under the bridge where Termite who cannot speak loves to listen to the trains and the movement of the river. Phillips creates characters who are brave and humble in their willingness to help one another through hard times. And her language carries you inside their minds where Termite, for example, is all sensation, and Lark, a mix of longing and love for family.
The New York Times says: "Jayne Anne Phillips renders what is realistically impossible with such authority that the reader never questions its truth."