Girls: A Novel, The

Emma Cline
An indelible portrait of girls, the women they become, and that moment in life when everything can go horribly wrong—this stunning first novel is perfect for readers of Jeffrey Eugenides’s The Virgin Suicides and Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad.   Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence.   Emma Cline’s remarkable debut novel is gorgeously written and spellbinding, with razor-sharp precision and startling psychological insight. The Girls is a brilliant work of fiction.Advance praise for The Girls  “The Girls is a brilliant and intensely consuming novel—imposing not just for a writer so young, but for any writer, any time.”—Richard Ford  “Emma Cline has an unparalleled eye for the intricacies of girlhood, turning the stuff of myth into something altogether more intimate. She reminds us that behind so many of our culture’s fables exists a girl: unseen, unheard, angry. This book will break your heart and blow your mind.”—Lena Dunham “Emma Cline’s first novel positively hums with fresh, startling, luminous prose. The Girls announces the arrival of a thrilling new voice in American fiction.”—Jennifer Egan   “I don’t know which is more amazing, Emma Cline’s understanding of human beings or her mastery of language.”—Mark Haddon, New York Times bestselling author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time


Reviewed: 2019-01-14
[3.5] An interesting quick read that raises a lot of questions about girlhood and men inserting themselves into that narrative.
Reviewed: 2017-03-04
The Girls by Emma Cline – In this rather bleak look back at the 60’s, young Evie sees a girl in town that she’s immediately drawn to. Suzanne has long dark hair, flowing, dirty, tattered clothes and an air about her that makes Evie want to know more. She watches and sees Suzanne disappear inside the black school bus that comes for her.

The 1960’s parents were pretty self-involved. Kids had a lot of freedom and were rather carelessly raised. At 14, Evie was easily lured in by the alternative lifestyle of the cult. She idolized Suzanne, who in turn idolized Russell, who appears to be the one they all revolve around.

So much for free love, because when Russell doesn’t get his way, in this case a record deal, he retaliates. Or rather, he sends some of the girls to do the job for him. Evie is in the car with them as they set off. I like to believe there was a glimmer of good in Suzanne that made her do what she did for Evie.

This is told in such a hazy, slow, melancholy look back at the times. Like our narrator was in a fog, maybe high on drugs. It marks a period of time in America but it was not a particularly pleasurable book to read.
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