BY EMMA CLINE, RANDOM HOUSE.
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