Father, figured

Daddy Love

The ever-prolific Joyce Carol Oates hits a nerve with Daddy Love (Mysterious Press, $24), a dark and gritty novel of survival. In some ways evocative of Emma Donoghue's Room, Daddy Love begins with kidnapping: Robbie, a smart 5-year-old with a nervous temperament is abducted from a mall parking lot; his mother, Dinah, is seriously injured when the kidnapper drives over her with his getaway van. This is not for the sensitive reader, but Daddy Love does map out a certain kind of resilience, especially once Robbie comes to realize that he's not the first of his kidnapper's brutalized “sons,” and that all of them have disappeared not long after they reach his age.