Meet Maf: The hilariously opinionated, well-read, politically scrappy, and complex canine companion to Marilyn Monroe.
In November 1960, Frank Sinatra gave Marilyn Monroe a dog. His name was Mafia Honey, or Maf for short. Born in the household of Vanessa Bell, brought to the United States by Natalie Wood’s mother, and given as a Christmas present to Marilyn the winter after she separated from Arthur Miller, Maf was with Marilyn for the last two years of her life, first in New York and then in Los Angeles, and he had as much instinct for celebrity and psychoanalysis as he did for Liver Treat with a side order of National Biscuits. Marylin took him to meet President Kennedy and to Hollywood restaurants, to department stores, to interviews, and to Mexico for her divorce. Through Maf’s eyes, we see an altogether original and wonderfully clever portrait of the woman behind the iconand the dog behind the woman.
From Publishers Weekly
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.
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