March 23, 2023

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“The Babysitter” Joyce Carol Oates – Reviews and recommendations

1977 in Detroit’s upper-middle-class Motor City: Wealthy Hannah Gary, a beautiful wife and mother above all, meets a man during a charity dinner where she is involved in organizing.

He touches her wrist and asks: “Who are you?”

He wants them to meet. They meet at a hotel­Room on the 60th floor. The nightmare is on.

Rape, but also Hana’s denial of it Addiction is the worst form of sexual violence.

Hana hardly has the will. The man, who calls himself YK, does what he wants – he does what he can do. wipes to use.

element of truth

In parallel, a serial killer of children took off in Detroit. The children, mostly boys, disappeared without a trace, only to be found again as smartly dressed corpses.

The media gave him the name baby sitter. For now, he’s kept away from the safe and successful suburb of Hana, but he’s getting closer to it.

For the reader, it is interesting to know that the babysitter is not only a fictional character. in the real world He operated a child killer in Oakland County, Michigan, during those years. Two people were suspected, at least four victims have been identified.

Oates’ approach to writing a novel based on true events underpins realism and closeness to the society it is studying.

Horror as a genre

My enthusiasm for horror novels, in general, is somewhat calculated. These books have a disturbing tendency to wander over the top in terms of improbability and realism, and I prefer suspense literature to serve up a landscape that I can believe.

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Fortunately, I happen to make a few exceptions with HP Lovecraft and Stephen King – and then Joyce Carol Oates.

This favorite, prolific author, who has never strayed from any genre at all.

Approaching 85 years old, she has written horror novels before. Whether “Barnevakten” is typical of this type is an open question. We might as well add “psychic” to the properties.

Recognized: After her debut in 1963, Joyce Carol Oates has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize several times, and is often cited as a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Here she receives the National Humanities Medal from the then President Barack Obama in 2011.

Photo: Jason Reid/Reuters

Detective Oates

From countless angles, Oates engages with American society with concern, anger, love, and curiosity.

She writes about class and racial contradictions, about the absurdity and questionable morality of the upper middle class, and about the position of women.

She delves into the mediums of popular literature and loves to make use of them. as well as in “baby sitter”.

woman in -77

“Who are you?” , YK has asked, in the sense “Whose wife are you?” , In the first seven-line chapter, Oates writes:

Hana’s ignorance, her lack of substance and her own will, become an important premise and horror of the story.

This character is written so vividly and extensively by Oates that it’s hard to believe she could have existed at the end of the ’70s. Then some of Hanna’s associations and mental images come in the form of flashbacks from black and white movie clips and the 1950s Faces of the Actress.

At the same time, Hana’s subconscious personality more clearly demonstrates to YK, a predator and victim hunter, his ability to see and identify a suitable victim.

In any case, the effect is that the reader is pulled in a strange direction that requires answers and solutions.

It’s also due to the italicized narrative voices that come and go. The reader must wonder who he is talking about.

reuse

Another thing Joyce Carol Oates has used in the past: “Parnifactin” was published earlier (2005), but then as a short story in the crime magazine Ellery Queen. Now reworked into this novel, just over 500 pages long.

I hope I made it clear that the reworking of the original short story worked.

At the same time, under no circumstances should it take too long to finish. The reader ran out of patience for a while, at least I did.

But in general and in the longest pieces:

“The Babysitter” is a delight­A novel set in the psychological landscape well worth taking with you.

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