Blonde on Blonde

by Cathleen Medwick
Photograph: Photo: Peter Ardito

Did she ever really go away? Marilyn Monroe died in 1962, but her iconic lips, her killer curves, her psychic fragility, have kept her quivering with life into the 21st century. The recent publication of Fragments (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), the intimate papers Marilyn bequeathed to her mentor, Lee Strasberg, gives us precious alone time with the golden idol who bravely asserted, in one journal entry, “My body is my body every part of it.”

Now comes The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Andrew 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.

Originally published in the December 2010/January 2011 issue of More.

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