The Gravedigger’s Daughter by Joyce Carol Oates

About the book

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.

Reviewed by Museum Book Group:

A dark book which is not an easy read. Difficult to know characters that one cannot know in depth. A storyline with an unsatisfactory ending. One member would read another book by this author. The rest found this a cold and difficult book.

Star rating: *

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1 thought on “The Gravedigger’s Daughter by Joyce Carol Oates”

  1. Review by Shipton Belliger WI Reading Group
    A well respected writer in America and her powers of description and use of language reflects this. the first part of the book is very dark indeed, telling of the life of a Jewish refugee family in the US. The tone of the book lightens but you are left with an overall sense of depression.
    We felt it was over long and good editing would have improved it immensely. some found it a very good book indeed but the majority could not overcome the sense of gloom that it engendered.
    Rating: ***


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