Grave Situation

In the spirit of The Falls, Blonde and We Were the Mulvaneys, Joyce Carol Oates's latest tome — The Gravedigger's Daughter — continues her celebration of human resiliency. Set in upstate New York in 1936, the story follows a family escaping from Nazi Germany and attempting to start a new life in a suspicious, uncaring new land. The only work that Jacob, the father, can get is that of gravedigger and cemetery caretaker. Daughter Rebecca was born in the boat crossing toward America, prepared for a better life than that which her parents left behind. But local prejudice — with which Jacob is unable to cope — leads him to kill his wife (and nearly Rebecca) before he turns a gun upon himself. Escaping from the violence, Rebecca begins her journey across America, where she experiences life as a waitress, a saleswoman and the common-law wife of a very rich man.

Oates will sign The Gravedigger's Daughter tonight at the Tattered Cover LoDo, 1628 16th Street, at 7:30 p.m.; free tickets to the signing will be handed out at 6:30 on a first-come, first-served basis. Call 303-436-1070 or visit for information.