The Gravedigger's Daughter, Paperback Book
2.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


From the author of `Blonde', `The Falls' and `We Were the Mulvaneys', this new novel takes in the themes of race, immigration, family and social mobility, and is Joyce Carol Oates at her storytelling best. `The Gravedigger's Daughter' tells the tale of Rebecca Schwart, born in the late 1930s to an immigrant family from Nazi Germany, just as they are arriving to America.

The family settles in a small, bleak town in upstate New York, where the only job the father can get is as the town gravedigger and caretaker of the cemetery.

Soon the town's prejudice and the family's own emotional frailty results in unspeakable tragedy.

In the wake of this loss, and in an attempt to put her past behind her, young Rebecca Schwart moves on, across America and through a series of listless marriages, in search of somewhere, and someone, to whom she can belong.


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Good story, but I really disliked the style. So heavy with rhetoric, repetition and mannerisms (like saying "only just" every time instead of "only" - why?) -- I don't know if it belongs to Oates's style or just to this book's narrator. In any case, I didn't enjoy the writing. Very often the odd punctuation also makes you reread sentences just to understand their point. It's annoying and makes you wonder whether that was done on purpose or not.The story and the character development I did enjoy, though, and the change in perspective at the end was clever.

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