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Lark and Termite (Vintage Contemporaries) Paperback – January 12, 2010
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Like *Machine Dreams,* the novel of a quarter-century ago that made Phillips a literary sensation, *Lark and Termite* tells about a family from the inside, from multiple perspectives.
There's the husband, a soldier implicated in the massacre at No Gun Ri, the Korean War's precursor to Vietnam's My Lai; his wife, an older woman who was attracted to how well Bobby Leavitt blew his trumpet in smoky jazz clubs; her sister, slaving as a waitress in a small-town diner and caring for the two title characters.
Lark -- 17, self-reliant, sexually awakening -- is typing her way through secretarial school with a determined look on her face. She's completely devoted to her 9-year-old brother. Termite is "a boy in a deep wagon, eyes hard to the side and head tilted, fingers up and moving ... [who] hums in a quiet tonal code that stops and starts." He's "in himself," Lark says, "like a termite's in a wall."
For Termite was born with hydrocephalus, and small-town Appalachia in 1959 wasn't especially well equipped to serve a special-needs child (though Phillips, typically, turns even bureaucracy into magic, transforming a social services worker into an otherworldly symbol).
By crafting parallels between events at two railroad tunnels separated by nine years and geography (one in Korea, one in West Virginia), Phillips' novel suggests unexplained glimmers of a spiritual world hovering above our own. But she roots her mysticism in reality, as in this description of what it's like to drift toward death: "Abruptly, a shutter falls. Sounds diminish and recede.Read more ›
I used to be a print buyer, by the way, so I do understand how poor printing (or separations, whatever) can affect the outcome of a book. If this one had better reproduction, it would have been delightful.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Anne Hillerman gives us an excellent discussion of the places in her father's Navajo stories and her husband's photos are terrific!Published 2 months ago by Katherine M. Noll
If you like Tony Hillerman's work you will enjoy his daughter's book about the southwest, the settings for his books, and the books themselves. the pictures are spectacular. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Bill Stoker
Phillips exudes a style with words that would drop English instructors to their knees. She is queen of alliteration. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Annie Hendrix
Stunning photos from the Southwest. If you have ever visited the Four Corners region or would like to, this is a great book for you.Published 4 months ago by James R. Michels
Anne carries on the mantle of her Father's work. But this is a non-fiction book by her regarding the landscape and cultures depicted in Tony Hillerman's Navajo mystery series.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer