Jayne Anne Phillips links a Korean War massacre to the homefront
Lark and Termite
by Jayne Anne Phillips
$24.00 List Price
Ever since Wordsworth wrote “The Idiot Boy,” a long poem about Betty Foy and her mentally handicapped son, the developmentally disabled have played the part of romantic hero in literature—most powerfully Faulkner’s Benjy Compson in The Sound and the Fury.
Into this tradition steps Jayne Anne Phillips, who burst onto the literary scene as a precocious twenty-six-year-old in 1979 with Black Tickets, a collection of mildly shocking stories about the sexually deranged, criminally depraved, and daringly marginalized in her native West Virginia and other parts of the South. In Lark and Termite, her sixth work of fiction and first novel in nearly a decade, she focuses on a nine-year-old named Termite who is “minimally hydrocephalic.” His condition, sometimes called water on the brain, leads to an enlarged skull and
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