Reading Matters

Oops. Cline’s ‘The Girls’ goes soft

Dwight Garner writing in the New York Times about 26-year-old Emma Cline’s latest novel, “The Girls,” set in Northern California, about a “bored and drifting” 14-year-old who wanders into a Charles Manson-like cult.

“Ms. Cline can’t come close to sustaining her novel’s early momentum. After 30 or 40 pages, my enthusiasm for “The Girls” began to wane. After 60 pages, I was scanning for the exit signs. The storytelling becomes vague and inchoate, as if you are reading a poem – a windy poem of the Jorie Graham variety – about the novel you’d rather be consumng. This humorless book whispers when you wish it would scream. Its sentences go soft, like noodles in a pot.”

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