The Girls
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The Girls

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THE INSTANT BESTSELLER - An indelible portrait of girls, the women they become, and that moment in life when everything can go horribly wrong NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post - NPR - The Guardian - Entertainment Weekly - San Francisco Chronicle - Financial Times - Esquire - Newsweek - Vogue - Glamour - People - The Huffington Post - Elle - Harper's Bazaar - Time Out - BookPage - Publishers Weekly - Slate Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged--a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence. Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize - Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Award - Shortlisted for The Center for Fiction First Novel Prize - The New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice - Emma Cline--One of Granta's Best of Young American Novelists Praise for The Girls "Emma Cline has an unparalleled eye for the intricacies of girlhood, turning the stuff of myth into something altogether more intimate."--Lena Dunham "Spellbinding . . . a seductive and arresting coming-of-age story."--The New York Times Book Review "Extraordinary . . . Debut novels like this are rare, indeed."--The Washington Post "Hypnotic."--The Wall Street Journal "Gorgeous."--Los Angeles Times "Savage."--The Guardian "Astonishing."--The Boston Globe "Superbly written."--James Wood, The New Yorker "Intensely consuming."--Richard Ford "A spectacular achievement."--Lucy Atkins, The Times "Thrilling."--Jennifer Egan "Compelling and startling."--The Economist "Elegant and nostalgic."--Julie Beck, The Atlantic "Masterful . . . In the cult dynamic, Cline has seen something universal--emotions, appetites, and regular human needs warped way out of proportion--and in her novel she's converted a quintessentially '60s story into something timeless."--Christian Lorentzen, New Yorkshow more

Product details

  • Hardback | 355 pages
  • 145 x 208 x 33mm | 499g
  • RANDOM HOUSE
  • United States
  • English
  • 081299860X
  • 9780812998603
  • 91,122

About Emma Cline

Emma Cline was the winner of The Paris Review's Plimpton Prize in 2014. She is from California.show more

Review quote

-Spellbinding . . . A seductive and arresting coming-of-age story hinged on Charles Manson, told in sentences at times so finely wrought they could almost be worn as jewelry . . . [Emma] Cline gorgeously maps the topography of one loneliness-ravaged adolescent heart. She gives us the fictional truth of a girl chasing danger beyond her comprehension, in a Summer of Longing and Loss.---The New York Times Book Review -[The Girls reimagines] the American novel . . . Like Mary Gaitskill's Veronica or Lorrie Moore's Who Will Run the Frog Hospital?, The Girls captures a defining friendship in its full humanity with a touch of rock-memoir, tell-it-like-it-really-was attitude.---Vogue -Debut novels like this are rare, indeed. . . . The most remarkable quality of this novel is Cline's ability to articulate the anxieties of adolescence in language that's gorgeously poetic without mangling the authenticity of a teenager's consciousness. The adult's melancholy reflection and the girl's swelling impetuousness are flawlessly braided together. . . . For a story that traffics in the lurid notoriety of the Manson murders, The Girls is an extraordinary act of restraint. With the maturity of a writer twice her age, Cline has written a wise novel that's never showy: a quiet, seething confession of yearning and terror.---The Washington Post -Outstanding . . . Cline's novel is an astonishing work of imagination--remarkably atmospheric, preternaturally intelligent, and brutally feminist. . . . Cline painstakingly destroys the separation between art and faithful representation to create something new, wonderful, and disorienting.---The Boston Globe -Finely intelligent, often superbly written, with flashingly brilliant sentences, . . . Cline's first novel, The Girls, is a song of innocence and experience. . . . In another way, though, Cline's novel is itself a complicated mixture of freshness and worldly sophistication. . . . At her frequent best, Cline sees the world exactly and generously. On every other page, it seems, there is something remarkable--an immaculate phrase, a boldly modifying adverb, a metaphor or simile that makes a sudden, electric connection between its poles. . . . Much of this has to do with Cline's ability to look again, like a painter, and see (or sense) things better than most of us do.---The New Yorker -Breathtaking . . . So accomplished that it's hard to believe it's a debut. Cline's powerful characters linger long after the final page.---Entertainment Weekly (Summer Must List) -A mesmerizing and sympathetic portrait of teen girls.---People (Summer's Best Books) -Cline's exquisite set pieces are the equal of her intricate unwinding of Evie's emotions. . . . The Girls isn't a Wikipedia novel, it's not one of those historical novels that congratulates the present on its improvements over the past, and it doesn't impose today's ideas on the old days. As the smartphone-era frame around Evie's story implies, Cline is interested in the Manson chapter for the way it amplifies the novel's traditional concerns. Pastoral, marriage plot, crime story--the novel of the cult has it all. You wonder why more people don't write them.---New York Magazine -Hypnotizing . . . [Cline's] eagle-eyed take on the churnings and pitfalls of adolescence--longing to be wanted, feeling seen, getting discarded--rarely misses its mark. In truth, it's this aspect of The Girls . . . that stays with us after Evie's whirlwind story concludes.---San Francisco Chronicle -Gorgeous, disquieting, and really, really good . . . [Cline's] prose conveys a kind of atmospheric dread, punctuated by slyly distilled observation. . . . What Cline does in The Girls is to examine, even dissect, these shifts between power and powerlessness that characterize a girl's coming of age. . . . Cline, born years after the events she explores, brings a fresh and discerning eye to both the specific, horrific crime at her book's center, one firmly located in a time and place, and the timeless, slow-motion tragedy of a typical American girlhood.---Los Angeles Times -A hypnotic, persuasively melancholy performance . . . The surprise of this novel is its almost studious avoidance of shock and sensationalism. . . . What Ms. Cline delivers instead is an atmosphere of eerie desolation and balked desire thanks to her sensuous turns of phrase.---The Wall Street Journal -[The Girls is] a heady evocation of the boredom and isolation of adolescence in pre-internet suburbia, in houses deserted by their restless, doubt-stricken adult proprietors. . . . The adult Evie has never shaken the memory of the ranch, and Cline gradually makes clear that's not because it was so very different from the average run of American life, but because it was, underneath it all, so similar.---Slate -Cline's book is stunning, exceeding all expectations. . . . A spectacular achievement.---The Times -Taut, beautiful and savage, Cline's novel demands your attention.---The Guardian -In her stunning debut novel, Emma Cline captures the powerful allure of California's carefree late-sixties spirit through the eyes of a teenage girl seduced by a Manson-like cult.---Harper's Bazaar -The buzziest book of the summer.---Good Housekeeping -As addictive as it is shocking.---Marie Claire -A dark, seductive coming-of-age story, The Girls is the thrilling account of a young woman getting sucked into a terrifying world.---Buzzfeed -[A]s fast-moving as a van on the run, as dark and atmospheric as the smog it cuts through . . . A complex story about girlhood, violence, and the psychology of cults, carried by the author's buoyant sentences and easy insights into the paradoxes of femininity.---The Huffington Post -[A] thrilling coming-of-age novel imbued with an anxious urgency. As the drama builds and your eyes widen, it becomes ever more impossible to find a stopping point in this beautifully written book.---Refinery29 -Longing and desire are the twin forces ricocheting in Cline's beast of a debut. . . . It is one of the darkest and most alluring coming-of-age novels to drop in a good while. . . . Cline is an enviable talent right out of the starting gate.---Electric Literature -The Girls is seductive and mesmerizing, packed with language that'll leave your pages dog-eared. You'll feel like you're in a fever dream as you read about an infamous cult of young women in 1960s Northern California. The Girls is a book that'll stay with you all summer.---Elle -The Girls is an exploration of the precariousness of being a teenage girl and the perils of craving acceptance. . . . Cline has created a perfect slow burner of a story. Her writing is languid and astute, and the rapport she establishes with her audience is like a cat courting a mouse that it plans to consume.---BookPage -A thrilling debut novel about the power and danger of girlhood.---PopSugar -[A] provocative, wonderfully written debut . . . Cline is especially perceptive about the emulation and competition, the longing and loss, that connect her novel's women and their difficult, sometimes destructive passages to adulthood. . . . The Girls is less about one night of violence than about the harm we can do, to ourselves and others, in our hunger for belonging and acceptance.---Publishers Weekly (starred review) -In her impressive debut, Cline illuminates the darkest truths of a girl's coming-of-age, telling a story that is familiar on multiple levels in a unique and compelling way.---Booklist (starred review) -Vivid and ambitious.---Kirkus Reviews -The Girls is a brilliant and intensely consuming novel--imposing not just for a writer so young, but for any writer, any time.---Richard Ford -Emma Cline has an unparalleled eye for the intricacies of girlhood, turning the stuff of myth into something altogether more intimate. She reminds us that behind so many of our culture's fables exists a girl: unseen, unheard, angry. This book will break your heart and blow your mind.---Lena Dunham -Emma Cline's first novel positively hums with fresh, startling, luminous prose. The Girls announces the arrival of a thrilling new voice in American fiction.---Jennifer Egan -I don't know which is more amazing, Emma Cline's understanding of human beings or her mastery of language.---Mark Haddon, New York Times bestselling author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Timeshow more

Review Text

"Spellbinding . . . A seductive and arresting coming-of-age story hinged on Charles Manson, told in sentences at times so finely wrought they could almost be worn as jewelry . . . [Emma] Cline gorgeously maps the topography of one loneliness-ravaged adolescent heart. She gives us the fictional truth of a girl chasing danger beyond her comprehension, in a Summer of Longing and Loss."-The New York Times Book Review "[The Girls reimagines] the American novel . . . Like Mary Gaitskill's Veronica or Lorrie Moore's Who Will Run the Frog Hospital?, The Girls captures a defining friendship in its full humanity with a touch of rock-memoir, tell-it-like-it-really-was attitude."-Vogue "Debut novels like this are rare, indeed. . . . The most remarkable quality of this novel is Cline's ability to articulate the anxieties of adolescence in language that's gorgeously poetic without mangling the authenticity of a teenager's consciousness. The adult's melancholy reflection and the girl's swelling impetuousness are flawlessly braided together. . . . For a story that traffics in the lurid notoriety of the Manson murders, The Girls is an extraordinary act of restraint. With the maturity of a writer twice her age, Cline has written a wise novel that's never showy: a quiet, seething confession of yearning and terror."-The Washington Post "Outstanding . . . Cline's novel is an astonishing work of imagination-remarkably atmospheric, preternaturally intelligent, and brutally feminist. . . . Cline painstakingly destroys the separation between art and faithful representation to create something new, wonderful, and disorienting."-The Boston Globe "Finely intelligent, often superbly written, with flashingly brilliant sentences, . . . Cline's first novel, The Girls, is a song of innocence and experience. . . . In another way, though, Cline's novel is itself a complicated mixture of freshness and worldly sophistication. . . . At her frequent best, Cline sees the world exactly and generously. On every other page, it seems, there is something remarkable-an immaculate phrase, a boldly modifying adverb, a metaphor or simile that makes a sudden, electric connection between its poles. . . . Much of this has to do with Cline's ability to look again, like a painter, and see (or sense) things better than most of us do."-The New Yorker "Breathtaking . . . So accomplished that it's hard to believe it's a debut. Cline's powerful characters linger long after the final page."-Entertainment Weekly (Summer Must List) "A mesmerizing and sympathetic portrait of teen girls."-People (Summer's Best Books) "Cline's exquisite set pieces are the equal of her intricate unwinding of Evie's emotions. . . . The Girls isn't a Wikipedia novel, it's not one of those historical novels that congratulates the present on its improvements over the past, and it doesn't impose today's ideas on the old days. As the smartphone-era frame around Evie's story implies, Cline is interested in the Manson chapter for the way it amplifies the novel's traditional concerns. Pastoral, marriage plot, crime story-the novel of the cult has it all. You wonder why more people don't write them."-New York Magazine "Hypnotizing . . . [Cline's] eagle-eyed take on the churnings and pitfalls of adolescence-longing to be wanted, feeling seen, getting discarded-rarely misses its mark. In truth, it's this aspect of The Girls . . . that stays with us after Evie's whirlwind story concludes."-San Francisco Chronicle "Gorgeous, disquieting, and really, really good . . . [Cline's] prose conveys a kind of atmospheric dread, punctuated by slyly distilled observation. . . . What Cline does in The Girls is to examine, even dissect, these shifts between power and powerlessness that characterize a girl's coming of age. . . . Cline, born years after the events she explores, brings a fresh and discerning eye to both the specific, horrific crime at her book's center, one firmly located in a time and place, ashow more

Rating details

80,422 ratings
3.48 out of 5 stars
5 15% (12,016)
4 37% (29,537)
3 34% (27,099)
2 12% (9,283)
1 3% (2,487)
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