Daddy by Emma Cline: Looking at the melancholy of modernity

Book review: Short-story collection from writer of deservedly-hyped novel, The Girls

“A fatalism presides” in Emma Cline’s Daddy. Photograph: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

“A fatalism presides” in Emma Cline’s Daddy. Photograph: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Emma Cline is back. What a treat. Her 2016 debut, The Girls, was a huge, hyped monster. A coming-of-age novel set in 1969 California, it was accompanied by the glitz of a seven-figure deal, the juiciness of a Manson murders-inspired storyline, and the craziness of the court battles between Cline and her ex-boyfriend in the aftermath of publication. (He accused her of plagiarism, she counter-sued, there was some stuff about spyware, his case was subsequently dismissed – it was all a bit mad.)

No matter. The Girls lived up to its stardom. It flew off the shelves, won awards, matched its author’s celebrity stride for stride. And it was a damn good piece of writing.

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