On Sale: May 29, 2007
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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 bittersweetâ€”but very "American"â€”triumph. "You are
born here, they will not hurt you"â€”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.
On Point - February 28, 2011
Studio 360 - June 23, 2007
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