The Good. The Bad. The Beautiful.
When Ottessa Moshfegh’s novel Eileen was published in 2015, readers were delighted and surprised by the strength and unique power of Moshfegh’s voice. Critics declared "here is a writer who can do anything" (See this most intriguing interview with her in the New Yorker). Eileen, which was long listed for the Man Booker prize in 2016, was our July Book Club Pick and very popular among staff and customers alike.
Moshfegh's latest release, My Year of Rest and Relaxation has been selling like hot cakes. Every one of our staff members (well, nearly...ahem, Liz) has read this bright pink bestseller and for this week’s blog post, we thought it time to take stock and gather everyone’s opinion about the book. Have you read My Year of Rest and Relaxation? Let us know what you think about it!
MARTHA GIVES ★★★★☆
"OTESSA MOSHFEGH'S WRITING IS DIVINELY, HILARIOUSLY DARK..."
We got an advance copy of R&R just when I had a bunch of stuff due. Needless to say, I missed a few deadlines because I DEVOURED this book. It’s sort of like watching a celebrity train wreck. The narrator was completely un-relatable to me—when I feel low, I tend to blame myself. The narrator (who never gets a name) is detached, cold and unapologetic, and she definitely doesn’t give a hoot what anyone thinks of her. The socially inept Eileen is more my style (she literally refers to herself as a ding-a-ling—how great is that?!). Ottessa Moshfegh’s writing is divinely, hilariously dark, and simply not to be missed. I suggest reading everything.
KELCIE GIVES ★★★★★
"...the most powerful draught, potion, magic or what-have-you a reader could ever experience."
Speaking as an insomniac and methodical dream-diarist, My Year of Rest & Relaxation is the most powerful draught, potion, magic or what-have-you a reader could ever experience. Funny and weirdly compelling, Moshfegh makes sleeping more exciting than anything you could do awake.
LIZZIE GIVES ★★★★☆
"...let's go as far into this person's neuroses as possible...and just feel good about how honest and actually vibrant that is..."
Man. Eileen came out of nowhere for me. I don’t think I was ready for her next book. I was still hung up on how much I enjoyed Eileen. I hadn’t heard of her when I read Eileen and it was like Kapow.
R&R was more of a slow burn for me. I was not super into this world and character at first and then I had a slow revelation about her and her journey (her running away from life journey). It was painful but I was like yes, I am with you. You are my sister. You’re like okay let’s go as far into this person’s neuroses as possible and in so doing go into my own and just feel good about how honest and actually vibrant that is.
THERESA GIVES ★★★★★
"Fast-paced, witty, insightful. I would recommend this book a hundred times."
Wealth and model good looks aside, reading My Year of Rest and Relaxation felt like watching the disaster years of my youth in slow motion. Bitter and disenchanted, our protagonist faces the common first world problems of our era: wanting desperately to be loved, not knowing how to let go, yearning for something, anything, better than ourselves. Through her hibernation, our protagonist runs full circle—away from herself to find herself. Fast-paced, witty, insightful. I would recommend this book a hundred times.
XIXI GIVES ★★★☆☆
"Tbh I was like 'pretty good' and then I was like 'ehhh' for most of the book...."
Tbh I was like “pretty good” and then I was like “ehhh” for most of the book until the very-last sleep of the book, which was a satisfying cherry on top of an ice-cold and bitter sundae. Also, the character of Trevor is an extremely accurate and nauseatingly familiar portrayal of “that guy” (and the little bit of “that guy” that we try to ignore in most of the men in our lives...).