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Hieroglyphics by Jill McCorkle (Audiobook Excerpt)

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This is a preview of the digital audiobook of Hieroglyphics by Jill McCorkle, available on at is the first audiobook company to directly support independent bookstores.'s bookstore partners come in all shapes and sizes but do have one thing in common: being fiercely independent. Your purchases will directly support your chosen bookstore.

By Jill McCorkle
Narrated by Kimberly Farr & Xe Sands / 9 hours 33 minutes
A mesmerizing novel about the burden of secrets carried across generations.

“I've read Jill McCorkle's books for over twenty years and she continues to create interesting multi-faceted characters that are fascinating. This ninth novel of hers tells the story of two very different families and how they are connected. Are you a fan of Ann Tyler's books? If so, you'll want to read Hieroglyphics.”—Rachel, Avid Bookshop

“Jill McCorkle has long been one of our wryest, warmest, wisest storytellers. In Hieroglyphics, she takes us on through decades, through loss, through redemption, and lands in revelation and grace. As always with McCorkle, the story feels so effortless and true that we might well miss what a high-wire act she’s performing. But make no mistake: She’s up there without a net, she never misses a step, and it’s spectacular.”—Rebecca Makkai, Pulitzer Prize finalist for The Great Believers

Lil and Frank married young, launched into courtship when they bonded over how they both—suddenly, tragically— lost a parent when they were children. Over time, their marriage grew and strengthened, with each still wishing for so much more understanding of the parents they’d lost prematurely.

Now, after many years in Boston, they’ve retired to North Carolina. There, Lil, determined to leave a history for their children, sifts through letters and notes and diary entries—perhaps revealing more secrets than Frank wants their children to know. Meanwhile, Frank has become obsessed with what might have been left behind at the house he lived in as a boy on the outskirts of town, where a young single mother, Shelley, is just trying to raise her son with some sense of normalcy. Frank’s repeated visits to Shelley’s house begin to trigger memories of her own family, memories that she’d hoped to keep buried. Because, after all, not all parents are ones you wish to remember.

Hieroglyphics reveals the difficulty of ever really knowing the intentions and dreams and secrets of the people who raised you. In her deeply layered and masterful novel, Jill McCorkle deconstructs and reconstructs what it means to be a father or a mother, and what it means to be a child piecing together the world around us, a child learning to make sense of the hieroglyphics of history and memory.

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