Wednesday, September 2, 2020


Daddy: Stories by Emma Cline
Penguin Random House: 9/1/20
review copy; 288 pages

Daddy: Stories by Emma Cline is a highly recommended collection of ten perceptive and thoughtful short stories that explore different facets of the human condition. The writing is quite good in this collection of universally depressing stories that explore the darkness and desperation under the surface in many lives. These stories are subtle glimpses into a character's life, past or present, and several seem to be a random slice of a moment in someone's life. Many of the stories are about the disappointments of men. The characters are complex and facing some crisis in their lives. As with all collections, some are more successful than others but all-in-all this is a very solid collection and does well to highlight Cline's talent and versatility.

Contents include:
1. What Can You Do with a General:  A father reflects on his family and their interactions past and present when all his children are home for Christmas.
2. Los Angeles: A young sales woman who wants to be an actress ponders her job and what she does to make a little extra cash.
3. Menlo Park: A man works as an editor for a billionaire who has had a ghost writer pen his biography.
4. Son of Friedman: An aging director man meets an old friend and actor who is his son's godfather before they attend the premiere of his son's first movie.
5. The Nanny: A young woman (and former nanny) is hiding from the paparazzi after her affair with an actor is discovered.
6. Arcadia: A young man lives with his pregnant partner and her brother on their working orchard, but knows they should move.
7. Northeast Regional: A man has to travel up to his son's boarding school due to a serious problem.
8. Marion: A woman recalls staying with her first friend on her family's family ranch and the boundaries her older friend pushed.
9. Mack the Knife: A man meets two old friends at a restaurant where he ponders his life and thinks of his ex.
10. A/S/L: Two women are clientele at a wellness/pre-rehab clinic when a famous male celebrity arrives for a stay.
There is one wonderful description that I had to highlight from "A/S/L" that made me laugh-out-loud: "It seemed like a book for people who hated books."

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Penguin Random House.

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