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!