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Babysitter: Book summary and reviews of Babysitter by Joyce Carol Oates

Babysitter

A novel

by Joyce Carol Oates

Babysitter by Joyce Carol Oates X
Babysitter by Joyce Carol Oates
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  • Published Aug 2022
    448 pages
    Genre: Thrillers

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Book Summary

From one of America's most renowned storytellers - the bestselling author of Blonde - comes a novel about love and deceit, and lust and redemption, against a backdrop of shocking murders in the affluent suburbs of Detroit.

In the waning days of the turbulent 1970s, in the wake of unsolved child-killings that have shocked Detroit, the lives of several residents are drawn together with tragic consequences.

There is Hannah, wife of a prominent local businessman, who has begun an affair with a darkly charismatic stranger whose identity remains elusive; Mikey, a canny street hustler who finds himself on a chilling mission to rectify injustice; and the serial killer known as Babysitter, an enigmatic and terrifying figure at the periphery of elite Detroit. As Babysitter continues his rampage of abductions and killings, these individuals intersect with one another in startling and unexpected ways.

Suspenseful, brilliantly orchestrated, and engrossing, Babysitter is a starkly narrated exploration of the riskiness of pursuing alternate lives, calling into question how far we are willing to go to protect those whom we cherish most. In its scathing indictment of corrupt politics, unexamined racism, and the enabling of sexual predation in America, Babysitter is a thrilling work of contemporary fiction.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Carefully constructed sentences, pitch-perfect dialogue, and a central character who is simultaneously sympathetic and repellent. An outstanding novel from a true modern master who jumps across genres with unrivaled dexterity." - Booklist (starred review)

"A searing work of slow-burning domestic noir...Oates paints an unflinching portrait of 1970s upper-middle-class America, touching on issues of racism, classism, and institutional abuse while exploring society's tendency to value women solely in relation to the role they fill—be it wife, mother, or sexual object. A searing work of slow-burning domestic noir." - Kirkus Reviews

"[P]olished yet soulless...Exquisite prose compensates only in part for characters with grating personalities who come across as mere shadows as they each careen along a collision course to disaster. This one's only for Oates diehards." - Publishers Weekly

This information about Babysitter was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Joyce Carol Oates Author Biography

Photo by Dustin Cohen

Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Humanities Medal, the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Book Award, and the 2019 Jerusalem Prize for Lifetime Achievement, and has been nominated several times for the Pulitzer Prize. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including the national bestsellers We Were the Mulvaneys; Blonde; and the New York Times bestseller The Falls, which won the 2005 Prix Femina. In 2020 she was awarded the Cino Del Duca World Prize for Literature. She is the Roger S. Berlind '52 Distinguished Professor of the Humanities emerita at Princeton University and has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978.

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