Tim Martin

What The Dog Saw

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


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

    • 'I was dumbfounded by the view of the Berlin Wall from the eastern side. It seemed inconceivable that in under thre… ,
    • RT : Danger for ‘local’ staff, access in exchange for silence (and logos) - all sounds familiar in this fascinating look… ,
    • 'He has long been eclipsed by Vermeer, though his interiors are arguably more ambitious.' David Gelber on the Dutc… ,
    • 'The wicked are truly revolting and the rage is wholly understandable' on new thrillers by John Le… ,
    • In @aaciman's sequel to 'Call Me By Your Name', 'Erotic urgency has merged with middle age’s frugality of heart', s… ,
    • 'The repression of free speech in Uganda is common. Reporters Without Borders’ 2019 Press Freedom Index ranks Ugand… ,
    • RT : The Topeka School is out today! I reviewed it for and I'm psyched to see him talking at the Tate tonigh… ,