The Triumph of the Spider Monkey by Joyce Carol Oates
Black Sparrow Press (paperback), 1976
BLURB FROM THE COVER
Bobbie Gotteson is found in a foot-locker in the Canal Street bus terminal and, turning early to acts of manic desperation, grows into a life of vengeful, fantasy-imbued murders.
Noise, vibrations, murmuring nosey crowd of bastards with nothing else to do but gawk – grunting sweating bastard in a uniform reaching in and grabbing me out of the darkness and delivering me to light –
– to lights that is –
Holding me up to those lights. A baby! A baby still alive!
This is my first time reading The Triumph of the Spider Monkey. I’m working my way through JCO’s back catalogue. There’s a lot I haven’t read.
I really enjoyed The Triumph of the Spider Monkey. This novella reminded me a lot of her novella Zombie which I also enjoyed. This novella isn’t an easy read. JCO offers a first person narrative from the point of view of a murderer. It’s not always pleasant being inside Bobby’s head but it’s always unsettling and interesting. The novella is the perfect length. I couldn’t have stayed in Bobby’s head for much longer and certainly not for a 400+ full length novel. I think The Triumph of the Spider Monkey is bold and very different. The broken, disjointed narrative is full of time shifts and does a good job of showing Bobby’s increasingly fragmented state of mind. Despite it’s gory subject matter this novella had some light even funny moments and was very weird and surreal – in a good way.