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About the novel: After many years in Boston, Lil and Frank have retired to North Carolina. The two of them married young, having bonded over how they both--suddenly, tragically--lost a parent when they were children. Now, Lil has become determined to leave a history for their own kids. She sifts through letters and notes and diary entries, uncovering old stories--and perhaps revealing more secrets than Frank wants their children to know.
Meanwhile, Frank has become obsessed with the house he lived in as a boy on the outskirts of town, where a young single mother, Shelley, is now raising her son. For Shelley, Frank's repeated visits 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.
Empathetic and profound, this novel from master storyteller Jill McCorkle deconstructs and reconstructs what it means to be a father or a mother, and to be a child trying to know your parents--a child learning to make sense of the hieroglyphics of history and memory.
Jill McCorkle's first two novels were released simultaneously when she was just out of college, and the New York Times called her "a born novelist." Since then, she has published six novels and four collections of short stories, and her work has appeared in Best American Short Stories several times, as well as The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction. Five of her books have been New York Times Notable books, and her most recent novel, Life After Life, was a New York Times bestseller. She has received the New England Booksellers Award, the John Dos Passos Prize for Excellence in Literature, and the North Carolina Award for Literature. She has written for the New York Times Book Review, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, Garden and Gun, the Atlantic, and other publications. She was a Briggs-Copeland Lecturer in Fiction at Harvard, where she also chaired the department of creative writing. She is currently a faculty member of the Bennington College Writing Seminars and is affiliated with the MFA program at North Carolina State University.