At the centre of this unforgettable novel are two chidlren: Lark and her brother, Termite, who is unable to walk or talk but is deeply loved by his family. The two are raised by their aunt Nonie in place of Lola, their mother, and Termite's father, Corporal Robert Leavitt, who is caught up in the chaos of the Korean War.
As the story shifts through time from West Virginia to Korea the mystery of Lola and Nonie's relationship slowly unravels, as does the story of Lark's hopes for herself and Termite, and her own desire for the personal history she has been denied.
The result is a rich and rewarding novel about 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.
Jayne Anne Phillips is the author of five works of fiction. The recipient of many awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she is currently Professor of English and Director of the MFA Program at Rutgers-Newark, the State University of New Jersey. She divides her time between Boston, New York, and Glen Ridge, New Jersey.