DADDY (2020)

I loved Emma Cline’s debut novel THE GIRLS, about a flailing fourteen-year-old girl who falls into a Manson-esque cult chock full of flawed members. Although I normally eschew short story collections and opt instead to reach for a novel, I didn’t want to miss out on more material from her.

DADDY is about similarly flawed folks — selfish, myopic, self-destructive, and/or hedonistic people — but they’re all intriguing examinations of individuals dealing with families, both biological and otherwise. Cline certainly has a number of themes and go-tos for her imagery, but they don’t feel overly redundant, and her prose is crisp, clean, but never clinical. If you’re looking for a number of tales about likable individuals learning life lessons and rightening their path, look elsewhere. Also, if you’re looking for shorts that end with a sense of closure, you should steer clear. If you pursue it, you’ll find a satisfying ensemble of fractured humanity.