THE GIRLS

BY EMMA CLINE, RAN­DOM HOUSE.

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - BOOKS -

How ex­cit­ing to open a book and know by the end of the first page that you have a new favourite au­thor. That’s how I felt read­ing Emma Cline’s strik­ing de­but, set in the Cal­i­for­nian sum­mer of 1969. Teenager Evie is scratchy with bore­dom and lone­li­ness when she comes across “the girls”. With their long, tan­gled hair, thigh-skim­ming dresses and air of care­less abandon, Evie is in­tox­i­cated by them and by Rus­sell, the charis­matic man at the cen­tre of their com­mune, a man for whom the girls would ap­pear to do al­most any­thing. Im­bued with the dreamy at­mos­phere of The Vir­gin Sui­cides yet bal­anced with an es­ca­lat­ing dark­ness, The Girls ex­plores that awk­ward, shift­ing ter­ri­tory of fe­male ado­les­cence – the sex­u­al­ity and power, the in­no­cence and vul­ner­a­bil­ity. Exquisitely ob­served writ­ing. LM

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