An interview with Emma Klein about her book, Dad

NSmma Cline was in her mid-twenties when her first novel attracted a lot of attention: “Girls” was about a cult Manson family style and a girl’s life turned upside down in the California summer heat. A larger theme emerged from beneath the shimmering surface: the formation of female identity in a masculine world. It is alleged that Klein received an advance of two million dollars for this – and interest in her person was correspondingly high. Then the noise took an unexpected turn. A former partner claimed that Klein copied ideas from him, threatened to release intimate photos, and hired Harvey Weinstein’s attorney. And although the allegations were dismissed by the court as unfounded, there was a shocking irony in the fact that this was the very way in which a book author was approached with great success about the imbalance of power. Now, nearly four years later, Klein’s second book has been published. The stories in “Daddy” are populated by disgraced editors-in-chief, crossed-out directors and TV chefs. Successful genres who have always been in the light and are now amazed to see how much the rules of the game have changed. However, few women were no better than them – a very pessimistic and very good palette nowadays. Not quite as pessimistic, Emma Klein joins the conversation from her living room at Silver Lake. A print by photographer Emily Keegan hangs on the wall. A greasy bruise appears on the thigh.

Many of the stories in “Daddy” are about privileged men with toxic manners. Why do you deal with these contemporaries?

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You have a twisted view of the world, which can be very entertaining. People who misbehave appeal from a literary point of view. I am interested in power dynamics. And there can be something very liberating about writing from the point of view of these unscrupulous men as a young woman.

I once said that as a culture we have to constantly explain what strong men think.

During the past four years alone, when we encountered a vicious narcissist as president in the United States. One person’s psychosis can cause a lot of damage. And in the context of the MeToo movement, we’ve seen entire organizations collapse due to the actions of individual men. Then a lot of people come in and try to fix the mess. Explain how all this could happen. Of course, this does not mean that women are categorically better.

None of your heroes consider themselves guilty. What is behind the tendency to lie in your pocket?

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