Phillips's multiple narrators link her to William Faulkner, and her lyrical prose resembles that of both Faulkner and Thomas Wolfe. The almost epic scope of the Hampson family saga is also reminiscent of Wolfe, who likewise portrays children trapped in their parents' conflict. The dissolution of the family is a recurring theme in modern fiction, especially in the novels of Anne Tyler and Gail Godwin. The Vietnam war's effect upon the soldiers' families is dealt with in Bobbie Ann Mason's novel, In Country (1985).
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