Lark and Termite – Jayne Anne Phillips
Set in the 1950s in West Virginia and Korea, "Lark and Termite" 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 us. At its centre are: Lark and her brother, Termite, a child unable to walk and talk but full of radiance; their mother, Lola; their aunt, Nonie, who raises them; and Termite’s father, Corporal Robert Leavitt, who finds himself caught up in the early chaotic months of the Korean War. Told with enormous imagination and deep feeling, the novel invites us into the hearts and thoughts of each of the leading characters; even into Termite’s intricate, shuttered consciousness. We are with Leavitt, trapped by friendly fire. We see Lark’s hopes for herself and Termite, and how she makes them happen. We learn of Lola’s love for her soldier husband and children, and unravel the mystery of her relationship with Nonie. We discover the lasting connections between past and future on the night the town experiences an overwhelming flood, and we follow Lark and Termite as their lives are changed for ever. This is the first novel for nine years by one of America’s greatest writers, "Lark and Termite" is rich, rewarding and unforgettable.