‘Every single Oates novel I’ve read has added to my conviction that she is a genius.’ Julie Myerson, Independent on Sunday
‘One of the female frontrunners for the title of Great American Novelist.' Maggie Gee, Sunday Times
'A writer of extraordinary strengths…she has dealt consistently with what is probably the great American theme – the quest for the creation of self…Her great subject, naturally, is love.' Ian Sansom, Guardian
‘Unlike anything else she has ever written…A very strong and readable novel; the rivalry between the two sisters is especially well observed’ Edmund White, Books of the Year, Times Literary Supplement
'Her prose is peerless and her ability to make you think as she re-invents genres is unique. Few writers move so effortlessly from the gothic tale to the psychological thriller to the epic family saga to the lyrical novella. Even fewer authors can so compellingly and entertainingly tell a story.' Jackie McGlone, Scotland on Sunday
'Novelists such as John Updike, Philip Roth, Tom Wolfe and Norman Mailer slug it out for the title of the Great American Novelist. But maybe they're wrong. Maybe, just maybe, the Great American Novelist is a woman.' The Herald
Fleeing Nazi Germany in 1936, the Schwarts immigrate to a small town in upstate New York. Here the father—a former high school teacher—is demeaned by the only job he can get: gravedigger and cemetery caretaker. When local prejudice and the family's own emotional frailty give rise to an unthinkable tragedy, the gravedigger's daughter, Rebecca heads out into America. Embarking upon an extraordinary odyssey of erotic risk and ingenious self-invention, she seeks renewal, redemption, and peace—on the road to a bittersweet and distinctly “American” triumph.