Longtime Algonquin author McCorkle is known for digging tenderly at the deeply buried thoughts, impulses and experiences of her characters to reveal the truths about them. At the same time, she wraps her stories in realistic, satisfying panoramas of time and place that the reader can’t help but remember. In this novel, the long-married Lil and Frank are retiring to North Carolina from Boston, and by going through letters, diaries, and memories, they hope to come to understand their personal and family histories—good and bad—better, to leave a clear record for their own children.— Lisa
August 2020 Indie Next List
“Jill McCorkle’s latest novel, Hieroglyphics, tackles early loss and how its memory persists in the minds of those who experience it. McCorkle weaves the stories of four unassuming characters and their individual traumas into a braided cord of empathy, revelation, and survival. Her storytelling skill is in high gear in this quiet yet deeply insightful drama that will remain in the reader’s mind long after the final page.”
— Linda Kass, Gramercy Books, Bexley, OH
"Hieroglyphics is a novel that tugs at the deepest places of the human soul--a beautiful, heart piercing meditation on life and death and the marks we leave on this world. It is the work of a wonderful writer at her finest and most profound."
--Jessica Shattuck, author of The Women in the Castle A mesmerizing novel about the burden of secrets carried across generations. 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.