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Sunday Salon: JCO!


How many of you Sunday Saloners are JCO fans?

(JCO is Joyce Carol Oates for those of you unfamiliar with her writing).

As part of September's JCO celebration on the Yahoo Orange Prize Group, I am reading The Gravedigger's Daughter. It's a weird mix of denseness and intimate storytelling. At 600+ pages, it's a little chunkier than I am comfortable with (or should I say have the patience for), but JCO has me hanging on to her every word.

It's the story of Rebecca, the daughter of German immigrants who escaped Nazi Germany before the U.S. entered the war. I am only half-way through this book, but I am getting a stark look at Rebecca's childhood. Stigmatized as both a German and as the daughter of the local gravedigger, Rebecca is unloved and neglected by her parents. I know from the first chapters that Rebecca grows up and becomes a mother, but you have to wonder what happens in between - and I am rapidly reading through The Gravedigger's Daughter to find out.

The Gravedigger's Daughter is my second fictional book by JCO that I've read. I read We Were The Mulvaneys when Oprah picked it, and I was moved by the characters and the tragedies of their lives. I've also read JCO's non-fiction book, The Faith of a Writer, which explores her influences (both literary and in life) that affect her writing.

Unless The Gravedigger's Daughter tanks during the last half of the book, I am confident that this will be a book that leaves an impression on me, much like We Were The Mulvaneys. JCO is Atwood clever - and there's nothing I love more than smart fiction by smart women.

If you've read JCO titles, please let me know which ones you liked or disliked. I hope to read more JCO in 2009 and am looking for ideas.

TEXAN SUNDAY SALONERS: My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Enjoy this Sunday!

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Sep. 14th, 2008 01:46 pm (UTC)
Sunday Salon
"there's nothing I love more than smart fiction by smart women"...amen, sister.

I loved The Falls by JCO...

Jill
www.breakingthespine.blogspot.com
(Anonymous)
Sep. 14th, 2008 02:14 pm (UTC)
This is one book, the only book by J.C.O. that I could not hang on to, something about the language she used, it fit the characters yet did nothing for me.
I must add that I am a huge fan of Joyce Carol Oats, this is the first time I could not finish one of her books. Will keep reading her so.

Madeleine's Book Blog

http://thebooksihaveloved.blogspot.com/
caribousmom
Sep. 14th, 2008 02:27 pm (UTC)
The more great things I hear about this author, the more certain I become that my next book on the pile is going to have to be A Garden of Earthly Delights (part I of the Wonderland Quartet). It will be my first JCO.
(Anonymous)
Sep. 14th, 2008 02:35 pm (UTC)
I do hope I have a change of heart about JCO this month; I'll be reading one of her shorter novels! Glad to hear you're enjoying this one.

Have a mellow Sunday, Jill!
raidergirl3
Sep. 14th, 2008 03:25 pm (UTC)
The only JCO I've read is Zombie but I don't think that's for everyone. I wasn't even sure if it was for me. I'd like to try another, I know she's written a lot of books.

Happy Sunday, Jill!
(Anonymous)
Sep. 14th, 2008 05:19 pm (UTC)
Love JCO!

I recently finished My Sister, My Love. It was unique and fascinating.
Some of my other favorites include The Tatooed Girl, Blonde and The Falls.

BN
http://bn-booknotes.blogspot.com/
ext_107867
Sep. 14th, 2008 06:26 pm (UTC)
The Gravedigger's daughter is a lovely story and JCO is an excellent writer who knows how to keep you with her in this book. Glad to hear you enjoy it, and I've decided I must read some more of her books!
ext_107963
Sep. 14th, 2008 06:43 pm (UTC)
Hey, Jill! I like Joyce Carol Oates and I keep saying that I need to read more of her. I have "The Tattooed Girl" and "I Am No One You Know" on my bookshelf, waiting to be read. I've only read "I lock my door upon myself" which is such a great story. ! think I will read more JCO in 2009 also. Thanks for the idea!
literaryfeline
Sep. 15th, 2008 12:32 am (UTC)
I do want to read The Gravedigger's Daughter. And a few other JCO books. :-) I have only had the chance to read one of her books, The Falls, and I really did like it. It was one of those books that I wasn't sure I liked when I read it, but afterward, I realized just how much I actually did.
ext_122541
Sep. 15th, 2008 07:20 am (UTC)
I've read a handful of books by Oates (Them, The Falls, I am No One You Know, Beasts..) and have liked some of them more than others. I think my favourite of what I've read is The Tattooed Girl. It's been a while now since I've read her, I should rectify that.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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