"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'"
Joyce Carol Oates belongs to my favourite authors. She didn't disappoint me with her latest novel, either. A story of new beginnings and good-byes, of violence and murder, a search for identity, "The Gravedigger's Daughter" is a gripping, very exciting book you just cannot put down.
Find links to all my other Joyce Carol Oates reviews here.