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Phillips, Jayne Anne

(US, 1952– )

Phillips began her writing career with short stories, and Black Tickets (1979) remains the best book to start with; the stories are powerful and vivid, shocking in their intensity, and simultaneously lush, the language luxuriant and sensual. Usually narrated in the first person, many of them deal with drifters and loners and offer a poetically condensed glimpse—sometimes only a page or two long—of a life. Machine Dreams (1984) follows an American family from the 1950s to the 1970s and the horror of Vietnam, through a succession of voices, letters, and dreams. Shelter (1994) is a haunting exploration of young adolescence and evil, set in a West Virginia girls’ summer camp in 1963. The language, capturing the rhythms of characters’ thoughts and fears, is hypnotically powerful.

Eudora Welty, Raymond Carver, William Faulkner  JR

Additional topics

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionBooks & Authors: Award-Winning Fiction (Pa-Sc)