Come In and Cover Me
By Gin Phillips
(Riverhead Hardcover, Hardcover, 9781594488443, 352pp.)
Publication Date: January 12, 2012
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When Ren was only twelve years old, she lost her older brother, Scott, to a car crash. Since then, Scott has been a presence in her life, appearing as a snatch of song or a reflection in the moonlight. Now, twenty-five years later, her talent for connecting with the ghosts around her has made her especially sensitive as an archaeologist. More than just understanding the bare outline of how our ancestors lived, Ren is dedicated to re-creating lives and stories, to breathing life into those who occupied this world long before us. Now she is on the cusp of the most important discovery of her career, and it is ghosts who are guiding her way. But what do two long-dead Mimbres women have to tell Ren about herself? And what message do they have about her developing relationship with a fellow archaeologist, the first man to really know her since her brother's death? Come In and Cover Me is the moving story of a woman learning to let go of the past in order to move forward with her own future.
Written with the same warmth and depth of feeling that drew readers to The Well and the Mine, Phillips's debut, Come In and Cover Me is a haunting and engrossing new novel.
Gin Phillips is the author of the Barnes and Noble Discover Prize winning novel The Well and the Mine. She lives in Birmingham, Alabama.
- While Silas and many others approach archaeology from a broad cultural perspective, Ren’s approach focuses on the individual personal lives of her subjects. How does her history inform her practice of archaeology? What is the benefit of pursuing individuals?
“With a sure hand . . . Phillips, weaves this strand of the supernatural through a compelling modern story of love and loss.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Phillips’s writing is . . . brimming with imagery. . . . Her greatest talent is her ability to create the world of the story. Come In and Cover Me moves us into the earth. The dusty landscape serves as both setting and metaphor, a beautiful but dangerous place where a sudden loss of footing can prove fatal.”—Brunonia Barry, The Washington Post
“As graceful and emotionally true as Phillips’ debut—and, in its thoroughly researched reimagining of the American Southwest’s prehistoric Mimbres culture and its leap into supernatural territory without once losing its credibility or riveting story line, surpasses it. . . . Amid a sensually sketched setting of rock formations, mesquite and juniper, narrow canyons, and night skies, Ren and Silas work side by side and try to bridge the growing distance between them. As the natural and supernatural worlds coalesce, both recent and ancient history become more insistently present, yielding an original and strikingly beautiful ending.” Kate Christensen, Elle
“A smart, engrossing ghost story . . . Haunting, compelling and lyrical . . . A moving, well-crafted story brought to life through believable characters, vivid details and honest prose. Phillips has provided the reader with a true find—an ending surprising, satisfying and memorable novel that illustrates the power of good storytelling.”—Bookpage
“Moving. . . . Phillips adroitly sidesteps sentiment, enriching Ren’s world with depth and detail. While studying the Mimbres tribes of the Southwest, Ren utilizes her gift of seeing and communicates with ghosts at the sites she excavates to find out where to dig and how the uncovered artifacts were used. Ren’s passion for personalizing her work, attributing artifacts to specific individuals and striving to tell their stories, causes disagreements with Silas, who can’t believe her approach really works. In this and other exchanges, Phillips nicely illustrates the conflict between masculine reason and feminine intuition.”—Publishers Weekly
“A lush, glowing, truly enjoyable work.”—Library Journal (starred)
“Phillips handles Ren’s communication with ghosts with enough delicacy to be persuasive, enhances the appeal of archaeology by personalizing its discoveries, and vividly illustrates the need to share oneself with loved ones.”—Booklist