Daddy by Emma Cline


Daddy: Stories by Emma Cline
English | 2020 | General/Classics, Short Stories | ePUB | 5.0 MB

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Girls comes an eagerly anticipated story collection exploring the dark corners of human experience.

An absentee father collects his son from boarding school after a shocking act of violence. A nanny to a celebrity family hides out in Laurel Canyon in the aftermath of a tabloid scandal. A young woman sells her underwear to strangers. A notorious guest arrives at a placid, not-quite rehab in the Southwest.

In ten remarkable stories, Emma Cline portrays moments when the ordinary is disturbed, when daily life buckles, revealing the perversity and violence pulsing under the surface. She explores characters navigating the edge, the limits of themselves and those around them: power dynamics in families, in relationships, the distance between their true and false selves. They want connection, but what they provoke is often closer to self-sabotage. What are the costs of one’s choices? Of the moments when we act, or fail to act? These complexities are at the heart of Daddy, Emma Cline’s sharp-eyed illumination of the contrary impulses that animate our inner lives.

The kids used to love movies like this when they were little, those old, live-action Walt Disney movies, Pollyanna; The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band; The Happiest Millionaire. Movies where the fathers were basically Jesus, the kids crowding around whenever the dad came into a room, hanging off his neck, kissing him, oh Pa-paw, the little girls said, almost swooning. Such great faces, those old actors. Fred MacMurray, the one from The Music Man. Or was he thinking of the actor from Little House on the Prairie, the boxed set that they’d watched in its entirety? Pa was always shirtless at least once an episode, his feathery hair so deeply seventies. John had read the girls those books when they were young. The Little House books and the book about the boy running away to live in the mountains, the boy running away to live in the woods, books about young people out in holy, unspoiled nature, fording clear brooks, sleeping in beds made of tree boughs.

On-screen, Danny Kaye was singing, the blonde in her pink dress dancing, her great legs, and John hummed along, off key, the dog in the room, he could tell, the harness jangling though he couldn’t see the dog, but someone else could take Zero out, one of the kids. That’s why Zero was alive, anyway. For them.

He had fallen asleep. The movie was over, but no one had turned the television off. His wineglass was empty. Everyone was gone. They had left him alone. The room was dark but outside the holiday lights were still on, casting a peculiar glow through the windows, an eerie, alien brightness. It occurred suddenly to him that something was wrong. He sat, unmoving, the wineglass in his hand. He remembered this feeling from childhood, the nights he lay paralyzed in his bottom bunk, hardly breathing from fear, convinced that some evil was gathering itself in the silence, gliding soundlessly toward him. And here it was, he thought, finally, it had come for him. As he had always known it would.

A spasm in his back, and the room reoriented itself: the couch, the carpet, the television. Ordinary. He stood up. He put his wineglass on the coffee table, turned out the hallway lights, the kitchen lights, went upstairs where everyone, his family, was sleeping.

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