02 October 2011

The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog, and of his Friend Marilyn Monroe, by Andrew O'Hagan

A lot of research must have gone into this book. That's what I kept thinking as I was reading. So many reference to other pieces of literature or philosophy (especially to moments in philosophy that reference animals), so many scenes with various celebrities of the time... I almost wondered if O'Hagan wasn't a former grad student. The thing is though, aside from a few moments, most of those references always seem like just that - clever references. They don't really bring the characters or the time period to life at all. This is particularly true, unfortunately, of Monroe herself (who was my motive for reading the book). She never becomes an actual person, though there are a few moments that come close.

The idea of having her dog narrate her story is an interesting one, and the dog is an entertaining character, but there's no overarching plot. The book feels like a vignette of scenes, most of which are of cocktail parties. Your interest ebbs and flows as you read; when one party ends, you don't especially want to hear about the next one. To be fair, there are some lovely moments - mostly in the form of clever observations - but overall, the books never really gets off the ground.

1 comment:

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