Daddy by Emma Cline; To Be a Man by Nicole Krauss - review by Mia Levitin

Mia Levitin




Chatto & Windus 272pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

To Be a Man


Bloomsbury 240pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

Many of the stories in Emma Cline’s provocatively titled short-story collection feature older men whose stars are fading, numbing themselves from the world’s increasing indifference to their influence with booze, pills and self-delusion. ‘What Can You Do with a General’ depicts a father with an abusive history unable to connect with his grown children at Christmas. In ‘Son of Friedman’, a has-been producer invites his still-successful actor friend to a screening of his son’s self-indulgent short film and awkwardly asks him to collaborate on a new project. In ‘Menlo Park’, a disgraced magazine editor is hired to edit the memoir of a tech billionaire who wants an insider-trading scandal to be recast as a hero’s journey.

Cline’s debut novel, The Girls (2016), was a fictionalised account of the 1969 Manson murders. In these stories, Cline forgoes the fever-dream lyricism of her novel for cool observation. She frequently holds back information: we never learn exactly why the magazine editor was ousted or why his wife left him,

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

The Art of Darkness

Cambridge, Shakespeare