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The Gravedigger's Daughter
External Sites. User Reviews. User Ratings. External Reviews. Metacritic Reviews. Photo Gallery. Trailers and Videos. Crazy Credits. Alternate Versions. Rate This. Director: Shira Gabay as Shira Gabai. Writer: Shira Gabay as Shira Gabai. Added to Watchlist Add to Watchlist. What's on Freddie Highmore's Watchlist? Israeli short films. Photos Add Image. 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. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including the national bestsellers We Were the Mulvaneys , Blonde , which was nominated for the National Book Award, and the New York Times bestseller The Falls , which won the Prix Femina.
Her most recent novel is A Book of American Martyrs.
She is the Roger S. One afternoon in September a young woman factory worker was walking home on the towpath of the Erie Barge Canal, east of the small city of Chautauqua Falls, when she began to notice that she was being followed, at a distance of about thirty feet, by a man in a panama hat. A panama hat! And strange light-colored clothes, of a kind not commonly seen in Chautauqua Falls.
The young woman's name was Rebecca Tignor.
She was married, her husband's name Tignor was one of which she was terribly vain. So in love, and so childish in her vanity, though not a girl any longer, a married woman a mother. Still she uttered "Tignor" a dozen times a day. Thinking now as she began to walk faster He better not be following me, Tignor won't like it. To discourage the man in the panama hat from wishing to catch up with her and talk to her as men sometimes, not often but sometimes, did, Rebecca dug the heels of her work shoes into the towpath, gracelessly.
She was nerved-up anyway, irritable as a horse tormented by flies. In Chautauqua Falls, men followed her sometimes.
The Gravedigger's Daughter
At least, with their eyes. Most times Rebecca tried not to notice. She'd lived with brothers, she knew "men. She was strong, fleshy. Wanting tothink she could take care of herself. But this afternoon felt different, somehow.
The Gravedigger's Daughter - Joyce Carol Oates - Books - Review - The New York Times
One of those wan warm sepia-tinted days. A day to make you feel like crying, Christ knew why. This stretch of towpath she knew like the back of her hand. A forty-minute walk home, little under two miles. Five days a week Rebecca hiked the towpath to Chautauqua Falls, and five days a week she hiked back home. Quick as she could manage in her damn clumsy work shoes. Sometimes a barge passed her on the canal. Livening things up a little. Exchanging greetings, wisecracks with guys on the barges.
Got to know a few of them. God damn she was nervous! Nape of her neck sweating. And inside her clothes, armpits leaking.
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And her heart beating in that way that hurt like something sharp was caught between her ribs. Tignor had brought her here to live. In late summer First thing Rebecca read in the Chautauqua Falls newspaper was so nasty she could not believe it: a local man who'd murdered his wife, beat her and threw her into the canal somewhere along this very-same deserted stretch, and threw rocks at her until she drowned. It had taken maybe ten minutes, the man told police. He had not boasted but he had not been ashamed, either. Such a nasty story, Rebecca wished she'd never read it.
The worst thing was, every guy who read it, including Niles Tignor, shook his head, made a sniggering noise with his mouth. Rebecca had a theory, every female in the Chautauqua Valley knew that story, or one like it. What to do if a man throws you into the canal. Could be the river, too.
Same difference. Her thoughts were so bright and vivid she'd soon come to imagine it had already happened to her, or almost. Somebody no face, no name, a guy bigger than she was shoved her into the muddy-looking water, and she had to struggle to save her life. Right away pry off your left shoe with the toe of your right shoe then the other quick!
And then — She'd have only a few seconds, the heavy work shoes would sink her like anvils. Once the shoes were off she'd have a chance at least, tearing at her jacket, getting it off before it was soaked through. Damn work pants would be hard to get off, with a fly front, and buttons, and the legs kind of tight at the thighs, Oh shit she'd have to be swimming, too, in the direction the opposite of her murderer.
Rebecca was beginning to scare herself. This guy behind her, guy in a panama hat, probably it was just coincidence.
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He wasn't following her only just behind her. Yet: the bastard had to know she was conscious of him, he was scaring her.
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A man following a woman, a lonely place like this. Ma had put the fear of the Lord in her, years ago. You would not want anything to happen to you, Rebecca! A girl by herself, men will follow.