“Irrepressible”, “formidably intelligent”, “hugely prolific”, “masterful”—these words are clichés when applied to Joyce Carol Oates, the author of 37 novels, several novellas, innumerable short stories, as well as dramas, essays, and poems. (She’s written an additional eleven novels under pseudonyms). In a career that spans more than forty years, Oates has peopled a semi-imaginary upstate New York in the way Hardy populated Wessex and Faulkner, Yoknapatawpha County.
The Gravedigger’s Daughter is the story of Rebecca Schwart, born on a ship in New York harbour to Jewish immigrants on the brink of World War II. The daughter of the local gravedigger in a grim, unwelcoming town, Rebecca grows up socially isolated and starved for affection as her family’s dreams burn out one by one….MORE>