Robert Coover

The Babysitter
  • The Babysitter

  • 'She arrives at 7.40, ten minutes late...' She babysits for Mr and Mrs Tucker. She has left a boyfriend alone for the evening. From this seemingly simple start Robert Coover masterfully explores the subtle barrier between 'reality' and thought. As the babysitter triggers the men's sexual fantasies, their erotic imaginations twist into alternative narratives simultaneously experienced by the reader: she does or does not take a bath; she does or does not invite her boyfriend over; she does or does not get caught unawares by Mr Tucker. In a profusion of happenings and imaginings, Coover layers moment upon moment, narrative upon narrative, to shatter the timeline of one evening into a multiplicity of events - contradictory, simultaneous, but all equally 'real'.

Robert Coover is the author of twenty-some books of fiction and plays, his most recent being Noir and A Child Again. He has been nominated for the National Book Award and awarded numerous prizes and fellowships, including the William Faulkner Award, the Rea Lifetime Achievement Award for the Short Story, and a Lannan Foundation Literary Fellowship. His plays have been produced in New York, Los Angeles, Paris, London, and elsewhere. At Brown University, he teaches "Cave Writing" (a writing workshop in immersive virtual reality), and other experimental electronic writing and mixed media workshops, and directs the International Writers Project, a freedom-to-write program.