Publisher: Little, Brown, and Company
Publication Year: 2003
Length: 240
ASIN: 0316711535
ISBN: 9780316155960
Selected as One of the Best Books of the Year by The San Francisco Chronicle and The New York Journal.
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About the Book

girls is an erotic spree, a journey into the most forbidden corners of male desire, a story about men who have been rendered numb by their power, who have sacrificed everything for success, who have lost their souls and can find meaning only by living vicariously, obsessively through young women.

Select Praise:

“Not all men are pigs. But some are, and the rich, successful, attractive ones may be the most monstrous of all. This is an acid-etched, dead-on, creepily exciting, genuinely disturbing chronicle of pathology that I didn’t want to keep reading and couldn’t put down.” – Kurt Andersen, host of NPR’s Studio360, former editor-in-chief of New York magazine, and co-founder of Spy magazine

“Nic Kelman’s girls is, I feel confident in suggesting, like no other novel you’ll read this year. Preternaturally poised, vastly literate, and sticky with sex… Kelman has clearly pondered our cultural fixations on youth, power, and money in a way that goes beyond the immediate reality-TV moment…a darkly lyrical, intensely cerebral novel…  girls is one of those books that gets its hooks in you from the first sentence…” – Daphne Merkin writing for Elle

“I couldn’t put this book down – it’s so great on so many levels. Nic Kelman’s writing has the craft I crave, that comes along at just the right time and takes my breath away. He has done something very different and it’s gonna fuck with folks, but it’s got the beauty to stand up to them. Some folks don’t like razors pressed in that close…” – JT Leroy, author of Sarah

“…a disturbing but irresistable first novel…packs a thudding gut punch…just try putting it down.” – Jonathan Miles writing for Men’s Journal

“…a provocatively effective format…Kelman presents us with situations we don’t want to think about and raises questions that are, for various reasons, virtually impossible to answer, and in this way he has given us a work that will leave a lasting impression, however unsettling.” – Kim Hedges writing for The San Francisco Chronicle

“Echoing Lolita, Kelman paints a disturbing composite portrait of men who approach sex with young women as a kind of rejuvenating sacrament…[and] insightfully portrays male fear and desire…” – Ben Sisario writing for The New York Times Book Review

“I read it in one breathless sitting… Raw as Selby Jr. or Bukowski and as powerful in its depiction of male mid-life crisis as any novel by John Updike, Philip Roth or Richard Yates, girls is a too-sick-to-read-on, too-compelling-not-to, brilliant, voyeuristic portrait of despairing male libido.” – Nick Johnstone writing for Uncut

girls is no ordinary first novel…remarkably thought-provoking, it moves with unerring subtlety through the moral timebombs it ignites.”  – Sean O’Hagan writing for The Guardian’s Observer on Sunday

“Kelman’s well-read research…and singular insight into mythology, sociobiology, linguistics and philosophy render girlsboth an artful and learned take on the male libido and its dark, destructive underpinnings.” – Tiffany Lee-Youngren writing for The San Diego Union-Tribune

“…a disquieting study…Kelman’s impassive prose is mercilessly probing. Guaranteed to make you like yourself just that little bit less.” – Arena

“…it’s best passages ring so true…gripping to see a light shone so unsparingly…” – Tom Horan writing for the London Telegraph

“Starting at 18, I was a stripper for six or so years, and can testify with authority that this book is a complete success, artistically and thematically. The Pusan story literally made me cry, and haunts me still. I guess if you’ve made your living being the fix-it girl for this type of guy, it leaves a lingering mark…just heartbreaking.” – Lily Burana, author of Strip City

“Reminiscent of American Beauty, but much more powerful.” – Vanity Fair (IT)

“Kelman is sly, cultured, a master of style, and, like Nabokov, painfully authentic.” – Corriere Della Sera

“An honest, brutal look into the minds of men. Whether they are rich or poor, black or white, powerful or powerless, they all want the same thing. This is a beautiful, beautiful book.” – James Frey, author of A Million Little Pieces

“It’s hard to remember another recent novel that’s so smart about male desire…for dark, erotic prose, this is difficult to beat.” – GQ (UK)

“…a most uncomfortable study of human desire…sexual encounters gleefully dissected by Kelman’s scalpel sharp prose.” – Alice Fisher writing for Time Out

“…provocative, beautifully crafted prose…an uneasy journey into the far reaches of cruelty, depravity, corruption, and lust.” – Tina Jackson writing for London Metro

“One admires this first-time novelist for his daring and skill…” – Library Journal

“Kelman brilliantly manages to diffuse every successful man in the universe into the protagonists…[girls is] full of Freudian intellect and interesting facts that Alex Trebek wouldn’t even dare mention.” – Paper Magazine

“…Kelman’s greatest strength is treating sex as more than just sex, even (or especially) when seemingly discussing nothing else…but girls is anything but a simple morality tale…. Writing with smoldering calmness, Kelman pitches his character’s maneuverings as a sort of protracted existential squirm…” – Andy Battaglia writing for The Onion A.V. Club

“…a vigorous rendering of a certain misogynist mindset of masculine privilege…” – Publisher’s Weekly

“Nic Kelman spares no one in his startling debut novel, girls. Not western culture. Not eastern culture. Not men. Not women. Not you, brave reader, not you.” – Victoria Redel, author of Loverboy

“…a brutally seductive picture of some of the most illicit facets of male desire.” – Tobin Levy writing for

“…I couldn’t put it down. It’s the appeal of car-wreck voyeurism. I read it in less than a day.” – Elizabeth Spiers, editor of

“…a profound social commentary…the author’s skill renders the experience both insightful and educational…” – Luan Gaines for Curled Up With a Good Book

“Kelman has a knack for capturing the reader’s attention and holding them engrossed.” – Tracy Farnsworth for Roundtable Reviews

girls is well worth the read… It’s an honest documentation of the darker corners of the male mind, which are neither judged or frowned upon, but thoroughly observed, and deeply felt. I would dare to make comparisons, but I don’t want to change girls’uniqueness. [You] begin to wonder if there is anything different, any new stories – but here in this bit of literature, I was able to kick back and enjoy its strong individualistic voice. This book is very clever and entertaining. If you enjoy books that make you question human motivations and let you escape into other people’s lives – then pick up girls.” – Carly Wire for Exclusive Magazine

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