Richard Brautigan
In 'Lark and Termite,' Jayne Anne Phillips continues to explore human vulnerabilities and the lasting effects of war on memory

Falling in love with a writer requires commitment; the long haul, thick and thin. They get old, you get old. The relationship waxes and wanes. Most readers can recall times of perfect synchronicity -- when the book was the necessary enzyme, the catalyst, the missing piece. "Black Tickets," Jayne Anne Phillips' first collection of stories, published in 1979, was, for more than one earnest English major, such a book. Phillips came of writing age in the post-Vietnam era: Each of her deeply political books, including her latest, the novel "Lark and Termite" (Alfred A. Knopf: 260 pp., $24), set during the Korean War, has examined trickle-down violence in American...