The Gravedigger's Daughter: A Novel (P.S.)

By Joyce Carol Oates

Fleeing Nazi Germany in 1936, the Schwarts immigrate to a small city in upstate big apple. the following the father—a former highschool teacher—is demeaned via the one activity he can get: gravedigger and cemetery caretaker. while neighborhood prejudice and the family's personal emotional frailty provide upward push to an unthinkable tragedy, the gravedigger's daughter, Rebecca heads out into the United States. Embarking upon a unprecedented odyssey of erotic hazard and inventive self-invention, she seeks renewal, redemption, and peace—on the line to a bittersweet and relatively “American” triumph.

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The guy within the panama hat smiled, tentatively. He was once no less than as agitated as Rebecca, and perspiring. His checked bow tie used to be crooked, and his long-sleeved blouse used to be damp, displaying the unflattering imprint of his undershirt underneath. Such ideal enamel, they'd to be dentures. “My expensive, you glance a lot like her—‘Hazel Jones. ’ I easily can’t think that there might be younger women, very beautiful younger ladies, taking a look quite a bit alike, and dwelling within the related sector . . . ” Rebecca had limped again to the towpath.

Other than she may keep in mind trying to find them within the viewers on the rear of the highschool auditorium although figuring out they wouldn't come in fact. no longer her mom Anna Schwart, now not her father Jacob Schwart. by no means could they've got come to this public position to work out their daughter commemorated. After the rite making her method like a furtive animal throughout the lobby of the highschool, the place a “reception” used to be being held for the spelling bee winners, their family and academics and different adults. She was once awkward and self-conscious between them, a solitary baby with out a kin.

Tignor. ” So in love, and so infantile in her self-importance, notwithstanding now not a woman to any extent further, a married lady a mom. nonetheless she uttered “Tignor” a dozen instances an afternoon. considering now as she started to stroll speedier He greater no longer be following me, Tignor won’t love it. to deter the guy within the panama hat from wishing to meet up with her and check with her as males occasionally, infrequently yet occasionally, did, Rebecca dug the heels of her paintings footwear into the towpath, gracelessly. She was once nerved-up besides, irritable as a horse stricken by flies.

Pa could sing a few, and Ma she’d be in another room and she’d sing again, an they’d giggle, like. Rebecca attempted, yet couldn't think her mom and dad making a song. She couldn't think her father kissing Herschel! They was once diffr’nt then, see. They used to be more youthful. Leavin the place we lived wore em out, see. They was once scared, like a person was once followin em. just like the police probably. “Nazizz. ” there has been trains we rode on, actual noisy. actual crowded. And the rattling boat, you’d imagine the ’Lantic Ozean will be great to examine, however it ain’t, all-the-time the wind’s blowin and it’s rattling chilly an humans pushin you an coughin on your rattling face.

In animal existence the susceptible are fast disposed of. so that you needs to cover your weak point, Rebecca. ” definite, Pa. “When these others ask the place you're from, whose individuals are your humans, you want to inform them ‘The Yoo Ess. i used to be born the following. ’ ” certain, Pa. “Why this international is a shit-hole, eh! Ask Him who casts the cube! no longer person who isn't any greater than cube. not more than a shadow passing over the face of the deep. ” His scarred-scabby hand cupped to his ear in an exaggerated gesture, he laughed. “Hear? Eh? A whirring of wings? ‘The owl of Minerva hovering at nightfall.

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