Graham Foster

Endless Flight

The Gravedigger’s Daughter

By

Fourth Estate 582pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

In her thirty-sixth novel, Joyce Carol Oates delivers a moving and surprisingly gruesome tale of one family’s experience of immigration to America. The focus of the story is the eponymous daughter, Rebecca Schwart, a girl who, despite being the first of her family born in the ‘Yoo Ess’, feels the sense of dislocation more acutely than her relatives.

The family settle in Milburn, New York, after a terrible Atlantic crossing during which the father’s guts ‘was eat out by rats’. Jacob supports his family by becoming the caretaker at the town cemetery, taking Rebecca and her brothers to live in a ramshackle cottage in the grounds. This is an upbringing that scars the young girl, who comes to be stigmatised as the ‘gravedigger’s daughter’ by the children of the town, the adults throwing far more cutting insults.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • What a charming, candid blogpost from one of our dear contributing editors. ,
    • RT : The first guess from one of my 1st graders was “death” and such an awed, somber, reflective hush fell over the clas… ,
    • Merry Christmas from Literary Review! Hope your stockings were laden with books, and the tree bending under the weight of further books....,
    • Last minute Christmas gift required? We're offering discounts on all our subscriptions (20% no less!) with the cod… ,
    • In this issue's 'Silenced Voices', Lucy Popescu writes of Thailand's restrictive lese-majesty laws and their latest… ,
    • "Gunn was a disciple of the American formalist Yvor Winters, but Winters’s poetry could never give off such a scent… ,
    • Christmas gift hunting? Why not give the gift of being even better read? We're offering discounts on all our subscr… ,