Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Yattering and Jack

Who’s the monster now? This unusual humorous piece from Barker tells about a demon sent from Hell to cause Jack go insane in retribution for an ancestor, who had violated a contract with the devil. The one rule is that he cannot touch Jack.
Perhaps, Jack’s best defenses are that he knows the demon is on a mission and its one weakness. As hard as the demon tries, Jack confounds it. He goes about his business and enrages it to the point of fighting with him. Aaah but it’s not supposed to touch him. Now it becomes his slave.
What a wonderful twist on a monster/horror story. One almost feels sorry for the poor demon, which goes from being Satan’s slave to becoming Jack’s slave. This is an intriguing and unique read from Barker.


  1. I thought so, too! I also liked that Jack wasn't afraid of the Yattering because he knew the rules and knew the Yattering's limitations. Yattering should have feared Jack but thought he had the upper hand. It was a nice reversal of the typical portrayal of monsters.

  2. I have to disagree with your comment on feeling sorry for the Yattering. I know a lot of readers come out feeling this way, but I saw him as kind of wimpy. He tries the same thing over and over (if killing a cat didn't work the first time, why keep trying?) and only really ups his game once. Then he breaks his own rules, even though he kind of knows that's what Jack's trying to get him to do. I can see why some readers felt sorry for the Yattering's situation, but I didn't think Barker pulled it off very well.

  3. Jack knowing the entire time, and then the reader finding out early on that he knew, is kind of what made this story not so good for me. I think Barker definitely did it to create sympathy for the Yattering, but it kills the tension knowing that Jack knows I think.