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Hieroglyphics

by Jill McCorkle

Hieroglyphics by Jill McCorkle X
Hieroglyphics by Jill McCorkle
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  • Publishes in USA 
    Jul 28, 2020
    320 pages
    Genre: Novels

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  • Jean B. (Naples, FL)
    Hieroglyphics
    I marveled, while reading this book, about the extraordinary talent of Jill McCorkle, the author. Still, it was not an easy book to read during the isolating time of the pandemic. Much of this book is so sad. McCorkle writes about an elderly couple, Lil and Frank, and a young woman, Shelley, and her son Harvey. She tells the story in their thoughts and words. Lil and Frank were deeply wounded during their childhoods by the loss of a parent. Shelley's childhood was horrific and her young son develops an obsession with horrible stories.

    The sadness of the book is offset by the beautiful prose. The author creates characters, especially Lil, who become real to the reader. After her mother died Lil's father would not have a Christmas tree. The child, Lil, looked at a beautiful tree in the window of a home she walked by on her way to school. "...it became my tree and was a bright spot in my day." But January and February passed and the tree still stood. Lil: it was a lesson to me how hanging on to something long after the fact can diminish the power of what was. It's where memory comes in, I guess, the abstract strength of what is no longer there..."

    This is a beautifully thoughtful book.
  • Mary S. (Hilton Head Island, SC)
    Couldn't Put It Down!
    Because of the state of the world with a virus, politics, riots, etc., it took me longer than usual to start reading this book. I read it from cover to cover in about 5 hours!! The story, the writing-- everything was first class. Perhaps it had the added impact on me because of the time of life I am experiencing at the moment, but it was easy for me to identify with the characters and the lives they were attempting to navigate through. A must read for anyone who wants to read something different, but also entertaining and exceedingly enjoyable.
  • Janet O. (Beaverton, OR)
    Hieroglyphics
    From the very first chapters of Hieroglyphics I was engaged. Good character development is always important to fiction but especially during this time of quarantine when our social interactions are limited, the opportunity to "interact" with others was appreciated. All four of the people to whom we are introduced are memorable and interesting, but I fell in love with Lil and consider her to be my new best literary friend. She alone speaks in the first person as she tries to make sense of the "bits and pieces" or "hieroglyphics" of her life. In a type of journal she is writing for her daughter she reflects on the tragedies and joys of a life well lived. She tells her story with humility and a sense of humor which were reminiscent of the musings of "Olive Kitteridge". This is a book about families, challenges and the power of love and kindness. I highly recommend it.
  • Carole P. (Natick, MA)
    Hieroglyphics
    I will admit to a little difficulty getting in to this book. I normally don't enjoy books that jump back and forth as this one did. Then I was hooked and couldn't stop reading it. Nor did I want it to end. Jill McCorkle is an exceptional writer. I found myself identifying with all the characters and saying "yes that's right ". Sometimes it seemed I was reading about myself . As always her books have depth and are multilayered. It makes me think of weaving . All those strands end up with a beautiful story.
  • Lauren T. (Orlando, FL)
    Hieroglyphics by Jill McCorkle
    It's rare to read a book and see yourself on every page. I said, "Exactly!" or "Me too!" very often while reading this novel. Hieroglyphics takes place during what seems to be a fairly short period in the lives of Lil and Frank, an elderly couple who have retired to North Carolina from Massachusetts to be close to their daughter. We learn about Lil and Frank's relationship and life stories both from current events, such as Frank's interactions with a family living in the house he grew up in, and from Lil's journal entries. There are some surprises, but what I enjoyed most about this book was the familiarity of their thoughts and feelings. Jill McCorkle is a wonderful writer, and in Hieroglyphics she has once again given us her best.
  • Susan P. (Boston, MA)
    Hieroglyphics
    A retired couple move from the Boston area to North Carolina, to be near their daughter, but they are seemingly adrift from any purpose in life. They bonded as young adults by the loss of a parent in childhood although it doesn't seem to have given them insights to each other. In NC, where the husband spent part of his childhood, he wants to search the home he lived in. However, it's occupied by a single mother who prefers to keep others at bay. It's understandable she doesn't want a strange man in her house, but there's much more than that frightening her. The retired wife spends her days reminiscing and keeping notes for their daughter. I got the feeling the characters didn't really know how to navigate life or other people and all the signs/directions were incomprehensible to them. While much is written about loss, this is a beautifully written, heartwarming, and redemptive book. Little secrets bubble to the surface and it's very hard to put the book down. I now want to read more Jill McCorkle.
  • Sheila S. (Supply, NC)
    Hieroglyphics
    Jill McCorkle is one of my favorite authors, and she never disappoints. I really liked this beautifully written book, particularly because it was written from four different points of view. Lil and Frank are particularly strong characters. Their marriage is a match made in tragedy, and as they approach the end of their lives, they are still trying to work out how those tragic events form the framework of their lives. Shelley is also the product of a tragic childhood and is trying to escape those memories and make sure that Harvey has a different upbringing. The title is perfect for a book in which the characters search for meaning through their various writings and mementos - Lil in her journals and notes, Frank in his jar of keepsakes, Shelley through her court stenography, and Harvey with his Klingon useage. I will recommend this novel to my book club and expect that it will elicit a lively discussion.

    P.S. The colorful book cover is spectacular. Well done!
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