At the in-store lit group last night, we discussed Lark and Termite, by Jayne Anne Phillips. It's a story set in the 1950's about a teenage girl and her developmentally disabled younger brother in small-town West Virginia. It's a book that received many rave reviews and was shortlisted for the National Book Award. When I made a list of books that I'm embarrassed not to have read, this was on the shortlist.
Raised by their Aunt Nonie and her boyfriend Charlie, Lark and Termite's mom is missing, her dad's whereabouts are unknown, as is his. What we do know is about a decade earlier, Robert Senior was fighting in the Korean War, and their narrative (from Lark, Termite, and Nonie's perspective) is alternated, along with Older Termite.
What's really great about these discussions is that I get so much out of the books that I don't find in reviews. Someone had to explain to me exactly what was going on with the cat, and explain the parallels between the Korean and West Virginia scenes. Some of us liked the book more than others, which makes sense--how else can you have an interesting conversation?
Our next meeting is Monday, June 7th, where we are reading Colm Tóibín's Brooklyn. And since summer needs at least a hint of escapism, we're reading a literary thriller/mystery, Attica Locke's Black Water Rising. That meeting is scheduled for Monday, July 1st, also at 7 PM.