What I’m Looking Forward to Reading: Ellen Heltzel

by admin | Dec-16-2008


The 2009 book that just hit my nightstand is Lark & Termite, by Jayne Anne Phillips, to be published in January by Knopf. Phillips has bumped to the head of the class because, in my view, she’s one of America’s finest fiction writers, someone who reinvents herself with each new novel. Maybe this helps explain her low output in relation to other notables—this is her first book in nine years—which in turn has kept her celebrity from building the way it might if she were more prolific. Her previous books have been readable, well-crafted, touching. Her new book, set in the 1950s, combines the Korean War with the story of a handicapped brother and his sister on the home front. Phillips has dealt with the themes of war (Machine Dreams, with Vietnam in the deep background), sibling connection (Shelter) and family life (MotherKind) before. But, judging from past experience, I expect to find something new this time around.         

—Ellen Heltzel


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