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A Marker to Measure Drift Audiobook, by Alexander Maksik Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Alexander Maksik Narrator: Angelle Haney Gullett Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2013 ISBN: 9780804120807
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A New York Times Notable Book

A hypnotic, spellbinding novel set in Greece and Africa, where a young Liberian woman reckons with a haunted past. 

On a remote island in the Aegean, Jacqueline is living alone in a cave accessible only at low tide. With nothing to protect her from the elements, and with the fabric between herself and the world around her increasingly frayed, she is permeated by sensory experiences of remarkable intensity: the need for shade in the relentless heat of the sun-baked island; hunger and the occasional bliss of release from it; the exquisite pleasure of diving into the sea. The pressing physical realities of the moment provide a deeper relief: the euphoric obliteration of memory and, with it, the unspeakable violence she has seen and from which she has miraculously escaped.

Slowly, irrepressibly, images from a life before this violence begin to resurface: the view across lush gardens to a different sea; a gold Rolex glinting on her father’s wrist; a glass of gin in her mother’s best crystal; an adoring younger sister; a family, in the moment before their fortunes were irrevocably changed. Jacqueline must find the strength to contend with what she has survived or tip forward into full-blown madness.
Visceral and gripping, extraordinary in its depiction of physical and spiritual hungers, Alexander Maksik’s A Marker to Measure Drift is a novel about ruin and faith, barbarism and love, and the devastating memories that contain the power both to destroy us and to redeem us. 

From the Hardcover edition. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “Gorgeously written, tightly wound, with language as precise as cut glass…Maksik renders the soul of his heroine, a Liberian refugee, with stark honesty so that we understand both the brutality of what she has run from and the terror she experiences as she tries to build her life back. I was undone by this novel. I challenge anyone to read it and not come away profoundly changed.”

    Marisa Silver, New York Times bestselling author of Mary Coin

  • “This novel is spellbinding. In its tenderness, grandeur and austerity, it reminds us that there is no country on earth as foreign, as unreachable, as the frantic soul of another human being.”

    Susanna Sonnenberg, New York Times bestselling author of Her Last Death

  • “A bold book, and an instructive one…[Maksik] has illuminated for us, with force and art, an all too common species of suffering.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Beautiful…Compelling and visceral…One rushes until the fever breaks, dazed and haunted by its power.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “Immensely powerful…Beautifully written…Jacqueline is a mesmerizing heroine.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Beautiful… It will leave you breathless and speechless; it will send you reeling.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “Haunting and sensual, Maksik’s prose deftly intertwines the tenderness and torment of memory with the hard reality of searching for sustenance and shelter.”


  • “Maksik’s lean, affecting prose burns…stripped of any excess, entirely attuned to the prospect of survival, beautifying the simple things that sustain life.”


  • “Beautifully written…Through an impressionistic stream of consciousness, Maksik slowly reveals Jacqueline’s ordeal…A novel that measures the ripple effect of trauma and violence.”

    Daily Beast

  • “A moving, deeply felt, and lyrical novel about past and present.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Gorgeous and evocative prose.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “A vivid depiction of disillusionment, shock, and resilience…Sheds light on a setting great in both its beauty and violence.//An exploration of terrible brutality and the effort it takes to survive.”

    Library Journal

  • “Jacqueline’s dignity and strength win the reader over instantly…Maksik’s book is moving, painful, and beautiful. It will change you.”


  • “The difficulty of portraying stark violence and its aftermath for those who survive it is one of the most challenging tasks for any narrator. Angelle Gullett rises to the task in this novel set in war-torn Africa…Despite Jacqueline’s fragile state of mind, Gullett’s tone reflects her struggle to accept what happened and the sparks of hope she begins to generate toward her own future.”


  • Selected for the August 2013 Indie Next List
  • One of the New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books of 2013
  • A Chicago Tribune Editor’s Choice
  • A Barnes & Noble Editor’s Recommendation

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About the Author

Alexander Maksik is the author of the novels You Deserve Nothing, a national bestseller, and A Marker to Measure Drift, which was a New York Times Book Review Notable Book, as well as a finalist for both the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing and Le Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger.

About the Narrator

Angelle Haney Gullett is an audiobook narrator whose readings include A Marker to Measure Drift by Alexander Maksik.