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Shelter: A Novel Paperback – December 3, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
Phillips's second novel is a dark rite-of-passage story of children confronting violence in Appalachia.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
In her newest work, acclaimed novelist Phillips (Machine Dreams, 1984) presents a dark, violent, and yet familiar world, using as her setting a forested mountain summer camp for girls in West Virginia during the early 1960s. Classic coming-of-age stirrings in camper sisters Lenny and Alma mingle with the frightening family secrets of Buddy, a young boy who hangs around the camp. Meanwhile, a young man named Parsons who knew Buddy's stepfather in prison, hides in an abandoned shack in the forest and watches the man he believes is the devil. The brutality the stepfather inflicts on Buddy and his "Mam," the camp cook, sets the stage for the terrifying drama that propels this novel. Powerful and riveting, this is highly recommended for most collections.
--Ann H. Fisher, Radford P.L., Va.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
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I did find the story interesting; I admired a lot of the writing. Yet I continually worried that the novel would come to a complete halt, and that no existing literary connector cables would be able to jump start it again.
Phillips' writing is extremely effective in fleshing out her characters -- not an easy task with a cast which is, overall, so young. The adults that take part are equally well-drawn -- human, succumbing to temptations and weaknesses, one of them (no spoilers) incredibly evil. Yet even this evil character is, to some extent, understandable, given the relevant background articulated by the author. It's no excuse for the deeds committed, but it allows the reader to understand the source of the evil involved. There are surprises, too -- and this is a welcome aspect of the author's gift -- in several of the characters. We find they are capable of things we cannot imagine as we come to know them -- and that at least one is not as bad as we are tempted to believe.
The plot of the book was developed nicely, at a pace that made me tempted to read it in one sitting -- I'm glad that I took the time to give it more thorough attention. A very rewarding and entertaining read.
_Shelter_ requires more than one read to absorb all its dark beauty and the incredibly powerful,poetic language the author uses. One tends to read quickly the first time, to discover the plot as it unfolds through brief vignettes given through the eyes of the various characters. Phillips is a wonderful writer with an unbelievable genius for observation and sensitivity.
novel but I can't say I completely understood it. There is
so much to this novel that it is difficult to take it all in
after only one reading. For example, symbolism abounds but
I'm not clear what is being symbolized. "Shelter" is a girls
summer camp in sweltering hot West Virginia in July, 1963.
But instead of being a 'shelter' the charcters, mostly children,
actually lose their innocence in an unusual rite of passage.
They make a choice as to how they will deal with a killing of
another human being but they keep it to themselves, never
trusting the adults. There were so many ideas that left me
with an inquiry instead of an insight. Why didn't they tell
the adults? What did the ancient writing on the walls of
the cave mean? How did Parsons fit in? A good book but
I'm still puzzling over it.