Nancy's Reviews > Lark & Termite

Lark & Termite by Jayne Anne Phillips
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's review
Jun 20, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction
Read in June, 2009

I had seen a couple of favorable reviews of this book, then saw it at the library last week. This book, like so many others I've read lately it seems, is written from the viewpoint of multiple narrators. At first, I didn't like that, skimming through the characters that I did not like as much or was not very interested in. But in the end, the author's use of language and dialogue won me over. I had not known of Jayne Anne Phillips before, but apparently she is somewhat reknown, and I may look for other books that she has written.

Lark and Termite tells the story of a young girl, Lark, and her disabled half-brother, Termite. Though the story takes place in a few days, nine years later, the Korean War and Termite's father's role in the war are a critical part of the story. Their aunt raises both Lark and Termite, with the help of her employer and long-time lover and a single-dad neighbor with three sons.

Lark's care and devotion and true affection for Termite are the hope in the story.

The following passage is from Leavitt's (Termite's father) narration.

"Look inside, he tells his son, inside is where you really are. He wants to lift his baby away from this beautiful deadly world. The planes always come, he wants to say, like planets on rotation, a timed bloodletting with different excuses. Part of a long music. Don't look, only listen. His son is born. Leavitt feels him turn in the salt and the blood, squalling and screaming in the close hot wet. Stay still. Listen. You can't come with me now. Breathe, breathe. Take your turn."

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