i8pixistix, September 16, 2009 (view all comments by i8pixistix)
Lyrical. The cadence and rhythm of the words - the way the story moves - is like a song with a good beat. Like the many references in the book to the sounds and flow of water and the sounds under the sounds - the book takes you along in its flow.
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alsek, February 7, 2009 (view all comments by alsek)
A wonderful novel by an accomplished writer. Set in West Virginia and Korea during the 1950's. Do yourself a favor and buy a first printing of this book which certainly is going to become a collectible. If you don't believe me simply read the blurbs on the back from a trio of heavyweights - Alice Munro, Junot Diaz and Tim O'Brien.
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frugalscholar, February 2, 2009 (view all comments by frugalscholar)
A beautiful book about family, history, loss, love ...this reminds me of the earlier Machine Dreams, which also centers on a sibling relationship. A moving, powerful book.
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Knopf Publishing Group -
This is the story of 17-year-old Lark and her fierce devotion to her disabled brother, nicknamed Termite. It's also the story of their family: proud Aunt Nonie, who raises them; Robert, Termite's father, killed in the Korean War; and their wayward mother, Lola. Time is presented in a fluid, mingled fashion, as the past continues to have consequences in the present. Jayne Anne Phillips writes dazzling, tactile prose that engages all five senses, and here she presents a novel with true staying power, one that lingers in the mind well after the last page is turned.
"Review A Day"
by Heller McAlpin, Newsday,
"Jayne Anne Phillips writes with all five senses, paying attention — as few writers do — to sight, sound, taste, touch and smell in nearly every sentence of her tightly constructed, extraordinary new novel, Lark and Termite. On page after page she evokes the sound of machine guns turning on their pivots, the smell of soap on a big sister's hands, light that goes purple with an oncoming storm, the sweetness of divinity frosting or the acridity of bloodied water, and the balm of a lover's touch. The result, her first book in nine years, is a powerful reading experience, at once poetic and electrifying." (read the entire Newsday review)
by Tim O'Brien,
"What a beautiful, beautiful novel this is — so rich and intricate in its drama, so elegantly written, so tender, so convincing, so penetrating, so incredibly moving. I can declare without hesitation or qualification that Lark and Termite is by far the best new novel I've read in the last five years or so."
by Alice Munro,
"This novel is cut like a diamond, with such sharp authenticity and bursts of light."
by Junot Díaz,
"Lark and Termite is extraordinary and it is luminous. This is not simply classic Jayne Anne Phillips. This is something far more extraordinary. It is an astounding feat of the imagination. It is the best novel I've read this year."
by New York Times,
"Jayne Anne Phillips's intricate, deeply felt new novel reverberates with echoes of Faulkner, Woolf, Kerouac, McCullers and Michael Herr's war reporting, and yet it fuses all these wildly disparate influences into something incandescent and utterly original."
"Moving between Leavitt's perilous situation — his unit has taken refuge with some South Koreans in a railroad tunnel after being pinned down by friendly fire — and his hardscrabble family in Winfield, West Virginia, where a life-changing natural disaster strikes, Phillips lovingly and dramatically captures intimate and historic parallels between these disparate places.
by Elle Magazine,
"In one startling passage, Lark says about Termite, as they sit in the yard of Nonie's house in the 'still and flat' day. 'He never looks at his fingers but I always think he hears or knows something through them.' It seems to me that Phillips has always written this way too — right through her amazing fingers into the astonished world."
Phillips's first novel in nine years is a rich, many-layered work. Set in the 1950s in West Virginia and Korea, it is a story of the power of loss and love, the echoing ramifications of war, family secrets, dreams and ghosts, and the unseen, almost magical bonds that unite and sustain families.
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