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Shelter: A Novel
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Shelter: A Novel

3.35 of 5 stars 3.35  ·  rating details  ·  189 ratings  ·  24 reviews
In a West Virginia forest in 1963, a group of children at summer camp enter a foreboding Eden and experience an unexpected rite of passage. Shelter is an astonishing portrayal of an American loss of innocence as witnessed by a mysterious drifter named Parson, two young sisters, Lenny and Alma, and a feral boy called Buddy. Together they come to understand bravery and the i ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published December 3rd 2002 by Vintage (first published January 1st 1994)
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Community Reviews

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3 and 1/2 stars

While this had its wonderful, brilliant moments, I much prefer her Machine Dreams and Lark and Termite. Once again, though, Phillips is amazing in her observation and description of the memories, dreams (or dreamlike states) and interiority of her characters, including (especially?) a character who has to be schizophrenic, though that's never stated. One image related to him immediately brought me back to my repeated adolescent reading of I Never Promised You A Rose Garden. A desc
Jayne Anne Phillips is one of the finer practitioners of Southern Gothic (think Faulkner, Kate Chopin & Carson McCullers), and this is an excellent example of the sub-genre. Events take place over about three days, but she spends so much time inside the heads of her four narrative centres – Lenny, about 15, her little sister Alma, Buddy a wild boy about 8 or 9, and Parson, of indeterminate age, but probably in his late 20s – that the story covers many years. That she spends so much time insi ...more
I really didn't enjoy this book. The premise seemed right up my alley, but I had a really hard time getting into it. The book is written from the view point of characters who are connected in different ways to a Girl Guide summer camp. The author did a good job of presenting atypical representations of the inner-life of a couple of the campers, but beyond that I just wasn't interested.
phillips has not only read her faulkner and freud, but has thought about them deeply. she manages here to mix rich prose, a superb sense of place and suspense. oddly perhaps, the male characters, especially buddy and parson, seem more defined/developed/carefully pitched, than the women, finely rendered as well. good stuff.
2.5 I wanted to like this - that which fancies itself a Southern Gothic set in WV - I really tried. I wouldn't doubt that this is absolutely lovely prose, for somebody wired completely differently than me, and will even allow that its proper shelving is in the literature section. But I hated starting each and every paragraph in this book, knowing that to reach its end I would have to wade through bogs of random loose associations wanting to be lush atmosphere, yet neither flowing comfortably nor ...more
lyrical, dense, though only in language, not action
A surprising and surprisingly poignant portrait of the friendship among young girls at a summer camp in the hills of West Virginia. The book captures the quick, aching devotion that develops among these young girls. Together, and with others, they explore one another and their sexuality as well as the dappled terrain of West Virginia. As has been remarked elsewhere, Phillips's descriptions of the natural world are rich, evocative, and somehow simultaneously dark and sparkling. I think she did a ...more
Cuestión de gustos, pero para mí este es uno de esos casos de buen argumento desperdiciado por la forma de contar la historia, con un exceso de lenguaje poético y un ritmo demasiado moroso. No esta mal, pero lo dicho: se toma mucho tiempo para llegar a la parte verdaderamente interesante... y es que aunque las digresiones tengan por objeto crear personajes y trasfondos psicológicos, estos tampoco resultan tan redondos como para que compense.
Stacy Lewis
Maybe it was the time of the year (bball playoffs) and all the other things on my plate, but I couldn't really get into this book. There was a great sense of foreboding but it seemed to take forever for the inevitable to happen. Again, this may not be fair. I read this over 3 weeks. Maybe if I had read it ore quickly, it wouldn't have seemed so plodding.
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A friend brought this book to me and said it was beautifully written. But I had a heard time following the stream-of-consciousness imagery. Sometimes I wasn't sure if something had happened or if it was in a character's mind. Ultimately it was a good story; I just didn't want to work that hard.
Lori Colt
The story could have been compelling, set in the 60's at a girls camp with several paroles in the vicinity, but I just could not get into the writer's style. It was too disjointed for me and then tensions that were build just didn't reel me in. Sorry...abandoned this book at page 100....
I was giving this a chance, but about three chapters in, it occurred to me that she's flagrantly imitating Faulkner, and then I lost all desire to keep reading. If anyone loves this book and disagrees, I'm willing to consider that I should give it another go, but otherwise, I abandon it.
The writing was extremely descriptive, most of which was great, and some of which was a bit overdone. The story was good but for whatever reason it didn't capture me at all. It took me almost a month to finish this which alone means I was not pulled in.
Sep 12, 2009 Gwynne marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I'm putting this on the shelf because I know I should read the "good" writers but am aching for captivating narrative (with ACTION) right now.
Sep 16, 2013 Gina marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I registered a book at!
It took me a while for me to get in to this book, but the last 100 pages were riveting! Ultimately a very good read.
Jun 16, 2009 Tyra marked it as gave-up-on
It needs to go back to the library and I'm not interested enough to give it another try.
Vahva ja tumma, tiheää kerrontaa ja etelävaltiolaista tunnelmaa.
Anne Sanow
Over-the-top, drippy gooey meandering lushness.
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Jayne Anne Phillips is an American novelist and short story writer. Phillips graduated from West Virginia University, earning a B.A. in 1974, and later graduated from the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa.

Phillips has held teaching positions at several colleges and universities, including Harvard University, Williams College, and Boston University. She is currently Professor of Engl
More about Jayne Anne Phillips...
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