BOOKS: Southern Gothic, '90s Style

Jayne Anne Phillips' second novel fails to meet expectations

Jayne Anne Phillips has built her career the old-fashioned way. First the short stories that announced there was a new voice in town. Then the novel, Machine Dreams, that amplified that voice in a sustained narrative. Most critics approved. Phillips' profuse style was well timed to counter the minimalism of the Raymond Carver school of fine word whittling.

In Shelter (Houghton Mifflin; 279 pages; $21.95), Phillips continues to ladle on the prose: "In the splintering pour of the storm there is such a silence, like a church or a cell, a cloister, empty, and rain courses down the broken glass of...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!