The Gravedigger's Daughter

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Harper Collins, May 29, 2007 - Fiction - 582 pages

In 1936 the Schwarts, an immigrant family desperate to escape Nazi Germany, settle in a small town in upstate New York, where the father, a former high school teacher, is demeaned by the only job he can get: gravedigger and cemetery caretaker. After local prejudice and the family's own emotional frailty result in unspeakable tragedy, the gravedigger's daughter, Rebecca, begins her astonishing pilgrimage into America, an odyssey of erotic risk and imaginative daring, ingenious self-invention, and, in the end, a bittersweet—but very "American"—triumph. "You are born here, they will not hurt you"—so the gravedigger has predicted for his daughter, which will turn out to be true.

In The Gravedigger's Daughter, Oates has created a masterpiece of domestic yet mythic realism, at once emotionally engaging and intellectually provocative: an intimately observed testimony to the resilience of the individual to set beside such predecessors as The Falls, Blonde, and We Were the Mulvaneys.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - BookConcierge - LibraryThing

Huh? It just ends? Oates tortures us for 500 pages and it just ... ends. I wouldn't have read it a all except for book club. Back in the mid 1970s I read a lot of JKO but then I just got tired of her. I won't be reading another (even if my book club selects another of her works). Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - PrinceAlexander - LibraryThing

This novel is about irreparable Jewish psychological trauma caused by Holocaust and about anti-semitism, which has no borders. Most of reviews of this great work fail to notice that ... I immensely thankful to Joyce Carol Oates for the courage of raising such "uncomfortable" issues. Read full review

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About the author (2007)

Joyce Carol Oats is the Roger S. Berlind Distinquished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University.

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