Customer Reviews for

Lark and Termite

Average Rating 3.5
( 54 )
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5 Star

(11)

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(15)

2 Star

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Absorbing

I would recommend this book to anyone who appreciates William Faulkner. Ms. Phillips is a master at setting. The Korean war scenes are suspenseful but not overly graphic, and speak to her powerful imagination. The characters, especially Lark and Termite, are skillful...
I would recommend this book to anyone who appreciates William Faulkner. Ms. Phillips is a master at setting. The Korean war scenes are suspenseful but not overly graphic, and speak to her powerful imagination. The characters, especially Lark and Termite, are skillfully drawn. Termite narrates the most difficult chapters, offering what Philliaps imagines as the perspective of a mentally and physically handicapped child. This book is drenched with emotion and symbolism, and it's ambiguities sound deep and familiar notes. Simply put, a most satisfying read.

posted by LinskyNJ on February 15, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

All is not as it appears.

Jayne Anne Phillips has created two complete worlds in her newest book, Lark and Termite. Set nine years apart in both Korea circa 1950 and West Virginia nine years later. While this tends to keep a reader on their toes the author manages to balance the twin story lines...
Jayne Anne Phillips has created two complete worlds in her newest book, Lark and Termite. Set nine years apart in both Korea circa 1950 and West Virginia nine years later. While this tends to keep a reader on their toes the author manages to balance the twin story lines masterfully.She also brilliantly captures the horrors of war,"that erupts and lifts it's flaming head" and the day to day struggle of raising a severely handicapped child.
Although the story line is full of ample examples of haunting memories it also becomes chock full of actual ghosts. I found the closing chapters too abrupt and full of artifice. It was as if the author was tying up all of the plot lines in a neat package and adding a bow with the improbable "motorcycle leaps on moving train" scene.
But by far the biggest problem I had with this book is a portion that is often overlooked in most works. Ms. Phillips listed the following three individuals in her acknowledgments; Charles J. Hanley, Sang-Hun Choe and Martha Mendoza. They are the Associated Press Team responsible for a Pulitzer winning 1999 series of articles about the mass killing of civilians at No Gun Ri.In these articles it was made clear that the American troops were firing on civilians as a result of direct orders from the US military command. Subsequent investigations proved these allegations not only false but fabricated. In light of these details I find the closing ackowledgment disturbing to say the least.
In sum I would recomend Lark and Termite as an engaging and thought provoking book. I would also serve it with a healthy dash of salt.

posted by KCSullivan on March 16, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2010

    great in almost every way

    this book sometimes vaguely reminded me of faulkner's "light in august" for obvious reasons.

    spectacular writing. poetic. great story re-told from the perspective of its several very real characters. i'm keeping this one.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 4, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A coming of age drama

    In the last week of July 1950 West Virginia, seventeen year old Lark; her mute younger brother Termite and their Aunt Nonie struggle to survive with none of them having any hope for the near future. Lark is confused by her past starting with her mom who dumped her on her aunt before disappearing and ending with having no idea who her dad is. When she was nine, the infant Termite, who cannot walk or talk, was abandoned on Nonie¿s doorstep.<BR/><BR/>Whereas Nonie is filled with fear for herself and her two charges while working overtime at a nearby restaurant to feed the three of them, Lark raises Termite while his father Corporal Robert Leavitt serves in Korea as the war begins. When Lark attends secretarial school, she soon is paralyzed with fear and despair just like her caretaker aunt as she realizes what Nonie knows that the future is at best gloomy for her or Termite. <BR/><BR/>Four days in July 1950 serve as the basis of this insightful historical character study that enables the audience to look deep inside the souls of the four prime characters and to a lesser degree Lark¿s mom. LARK AND TERMITE is both sad and uplifting as the audience along with the teen understand that she like her aunt has no future and Termite¿s is even less than hers; yet Lark has dreams for her and her ward even though they her subatomic tiny, they matter. Something as simple as a means for Termite to be a bit mobile like getting him a wheelchair though that is a dream as money is only for the basic sustenance of food and shelter. This coming of age drama is not an easy read as there is an overall feel of dismal inevitability to the story line, but even in total darkness little bits of hopeful light shine through.<BR/><BR/>Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted March 17, 2011

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