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 bittersweetbut very "American"triumph. "You are born here, they will not hurt you"so the gravedigger has predicted for his daughter, which will turn out to be true.
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Starred Review. "Everything in this book depends on Oates' ability to bring a woman before the reader who is deeply veiledwhose real name is unknown even to herselfand she does it with epic panache." - PW
"A truly representative sampling of this unpredictable author's grind-it-out strengths and mind-boggling weaknesses. " - Kirkus.
"Starred Review. Oates is supremely atmospheric, erotic, and suspenseful in this virtuoso novel of identity, power, and moral reckoning." - Booklist.
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Joyce Carol Oates was
born in Lockport, New York, in 1938 and grew up on the family farm where she developed
a love of literature and writing. She earned a scholarship to Syracuse University
and graduated valedictorian. She then took a masters degree, after which she started
teaching at the University of Detroit where she met her first husband Raymond J
Smith. In the late '60s, they moved to the University of Windsor in Canada, where
they were co-editors of the literary quaterly publication The Ontario Review.
In the late 1970s she took a teaching position at Princeton University where she
is currently the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities.
She published her first book in 1963, and has published over 40 ...
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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