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The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog, and of his friend Marilyn Monroe


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The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog, and of his friend Marilyn Monroe by Andrew O'Hagan is an utterly unique new novel from one of Britain's most exciting literary writers.

About the Author

Andrew O'Hagan was born in Glasgow in 1968. Our Fathers, his debut novel, was shortlisted for the 1999 Booker Prize. His second novel, Personality, won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction in 2003, and in that same year Granta named him one of the 'Best of Young British Novelists'. He lives in London.


Many an esteemed novelist has tried and failed to capture the charisma of Marilyn Monroe. Drawing on actual events, O'Hagan (Be Near Me) avoids the pitfalls of his predecessors by treating the actress like a human being. This miracle comes courtesy of, yes, a canine narrator; but not just any canine-Maf, short for Mafia Honey, a Trotksy-loving, seen-it-all-but-still-dewy-eyed Maltese gifted to Monroe by the one and only Chairman of the Board, Frank Sinatra. If this sounds wondrous, it's because it is. With the wit and whimsy of a great European novelist, Maf treats readers to a star-studded biography of humanity and dogs, their many beautiful bonds, and the tragic distance that remains between them. Indeed, no one was likely closer to Monroe the last two years of her life than her dog, and yet Maf could not save her. Still, this is not a sad story-O'Hagan's incredible gift for dialog will give you the giggles and goose bumps. Monroe, Sinatra, Carson McCullers, Lionel Trilling, and Lillian Hellman will materialize at your bedside to entertain and outrage you with their outsizedness. Verdict Monroe fans should devour in one sitting this haunting cross between a summer read and a fall smolderer. Everyone else should read it, too, for its urgent lessons on empathy. Forever and always recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 7/10; also previewed in "BEA Beyond the Buzz," LJ 7/10.]-Heather McCormack, Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

O'Hagan (Be Near Me) conjures canine narrator Maf, short for "Mafia Honey," to introduce readers to a world where dogs' playful manners belie their capacity for philosophy-Maf is a Trotsky fan-cats speak in poetic form, and animals provide a gateway into their owners' thoughts and dreams. A circuitous path leads Maf into the arms of Frank Sinatra just as he's looking for a gift for Marilyn Monroe. With his new owner, the lucky pup has a period of perfect companionship in New York City, attending Sammy Davis Jr. shows, sitting in on analyst appointments, witnessing Sinatra tantrums, and attending literati gatherings where those whose artistic sensibilities run counter to his risk being bitten. Between Maf's ruminations on dog and human nature, his favorite famous dogs, and the best parks in the world, he bemoans Marilyn's decline. O'Hagan's witty novel is packed with allusions, and though Maf gives color and nuance to some historical A-listers, Marilyn, remains unfortunately elusive. This familiar slice of Americana gets a much-needed shaking up from an erudite pooch. (Dec.) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

"O'Hagan's seductively witty novel, written from the down-low but philosophically lofty vantage point of Mafia Honey, the fluffy white Maltese that was Frank Sinatra's gift to his gentle, needy friend Marilyn. Maf, a British import, is fiercely political (a Trotskyite), erudite and snootily stylish (caring about home decor, he tells us, is "part of my pedigree"). He skewers the Hollywood elite while coming to adore his "fated companion" whose tenuous dreams he can read distinctly even as they're turning to dust."-"More Magazine" "Andrew O'Hagan's book--inspired by Marilyn Monroe's real-life Maltese--is stellar. Whether Maf is buoying his owner's spirits or coolly assessing Susan Sontag, he has a nose for silliness and deep sadness. Of course, it helps that, as he notes, dogs 'can hear what people are saying to themselves, and we can sniff illusion.' This December surprise is a very real contender for the wittiest, wisest, most winning book of the year."-"Parade" "Maf's insights into the vulnerable star's psyche will make your heart stop--as will O'Hagan's writing, which is as clear and lovely as the Blonde Bombshell's seductive laugh."- "Marie Claire""Maf, equal parts erudite (a sworn Trotskyite, well-versed in philosophy and psychology), and canine (he chases rats), tells Monroe's story from the ground up." -"Interview" "With a nod to Virginia Woolf's biography of Flush, cheeky Andrew O'Hagan channels "The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog, and of his Friend Marilyn Monroe."""-Vanity Fair""Andrew O'Hagan's novel perfectly captures the legendary actress. There are numerous scenes between famous people, some of whom I have known, and O'Hagan makes the dialogue sound absolutely authentic... There is a small but impressive tradition of canine narrators, but I can't imagine there was ever a dog as erudite and well spoken as dear old Mafia Honey. Enthralling." -Peter Bogdanovich, "Daily Telegraph" "Andrew O'Hagan's new novel The Life and Op

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