Tim Martin

What The Dog Saw

The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog and of his Friend Marilyn Monroe

By

Faber & Faber 288pp hbk £17.99 pbk £12.99 order from our bookshop

Mafia Honey was the dog that accompanied Marilyn Monroe for the last two years of her life. He was a present from Frank Sinatra, who stalks sharp-suitedly through Andrew O’Hagan’s generous and clever comic novel scattering indiscriminate largesse and threats. This book, Maf’s so-called memoirs, is a spirited picaresque that digs deep into the myths and legends of Fifties and Sixties Hollywood, still under the shadow of the McCarthyite witch-hunts. Set-piece after set-piece stages dense and witty debates between figures such as Frank O’Hara, Lee Strasberg, Carson McCullers, Shelley Winters, Sammy Davis Jr, Natalie Wood and a procession of blank-eyed mafiosi who each introduces himself as ‘Frank’s lawyer’. Critics and politicians fence at parties, the Kennedy administration grinds into power at the margins of the narrative, and audiences applaud as Monroe’s star describes its fatal downward arc. 

Sign Up to our newsletter

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

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Neville never shed his sense of being the junior, and perhaps least-deserving Chamberlain.' From the archive, Mic… ,
    • 'The erecting and immediate destruction of a series of straw men rather detracts from what is for the most part an… ,
    • RT : A magnificent demolition job on this "acid laced tirade...unpleasantly self-obsessed...self pitying polemic...book… ,
    • 'Seventy years on, the time we have left to gather such first-hand testimony is running out.' John Keay on the sig… ,
    • The author 'seethes with contemptuous indignation at the shiny junk that an unregulated construction industry dumps… ,
    • 'The physical courage he demonstrated as a young man [...] gave way to intellectual power; radical thought, gifted… ,
    • 'While Jane Austen didn’t perhaps achieve the full recognition that she deserved in her lifetime, even then she out… ,