I was slightly scared to read Moshfegh's My Year of Rest and Relaxation as her Eileen is one of my favorite books, and I was worried this one couldn't possible live up to it. Well, no worries! Our nameless narrator wants to spend an entire year sleeping; she believes this will solve all of her problems. She manages to connect with the worst psychiatrist in the history of the planet, and things go downhill from there. Our narrator is a shockingly awful person, but Moshfegh has the talent to have you hanging on every word until the end: a true storyteller. Exploring themes of human connection, the meaning of art, solitude, addiction, modern consumption, trust, psychological help, and the idea of rebirth, this is one fantastic character study about the meaning of life. What a book! Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
My Year of Rest and Relaxation is a vicious and outrageously funny satire starring a contemporary Sleeping Beauty in pre-9/11 New York. With the help of a killer cocktail of modern pharmaceuticals, our unusually beautiful heroine sets out to hibernate for a year in order to shrug off the tragedies and traumas of her past and emerge renewed. Author Ottessa Moshfegh is the dour friend all of us truly need, delivering eviscerating observations that have the power to brighten up even the darkest moments. Here she is at her best, inviting us to laugh with her as we stare into the howling emptiness beneath the vanities of capitalism. This is a horror story that we all may read with a little envy — what reader in our current cultural moment would not begrudge her protagonist the privilege of a year-long nap? Recommended By Cosima C., Powells.com
Only Ottessa Moshfegh could write a book that makes me laugh and want to die at the same time. She has a particular affinity for the grotesque and a singular talent for drawing beauty out of grime that is both hilarious and magnificently depressing. This is all admirably showcased in her latest book, chronicling a year in the life of a young woman who has everything we aspired to in 2000: beauty, an apartment on the Upper East Side, and a closet full of designer, likely bootcut, jeans. But there is a howling emptiness inside her, an inescapable pain she longs to sleep away. And thanks to the wonders of modern medicine and a bizarre, unscrupulous doctor, that's exactly what she does! Everything about My Year of Rest and Relaxation is perfect and painful and funny, just the thing to accompany a nice leisurely look into the abyss. Recommended By Lauren P., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
From one of our boldest, most celebrated new literary voices, a novel about a young woman’s efforts to duck the ills of the world by embarking on an extended hibernation with the help of one of the worst psychiatrists in the annals of literature and the battery of medicines she prescribes
Our narrator should be happy, shouldn’t she? She’s young, thin, pretty, a recent Columbia graduate, works an easy job at a hip art gallery, lives in an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan paid for, like the rest of her needs, by her inheritance. But there is a dark and vacuous hole in her heart, and it isn’t just the loss of her parents, or the way her Wall Street boyfriend treats her, or her sadomasochistic relationship with her best friend, Reva. It’s the year 2000 in a city aglitter with wealth and possibility; what could be so terribly wrong?
My Year of Rest and Relaxation is a powerful answer to that question. Through the story of a year spent under the influence of a truly mad combination of drugs designed to heal our heroine from her alienation from this world, Moshfegh shows us how reasonable, even necessary, alienation can be. Both tender and blackly funny, merciless and compassionate, it is a showcase for the gifts of one of our major writers working at the height of her powers.
“Moshfegh has a keen sense of everyday absurdities, a deadpan delivery, and such a well-honed sense of irony that the narrator’s predicament never feels tragic; this may be the finest existential novel not written by a French author....A nervy modern-day rebellion tale that isn’t afraid to get dark or find humor in the darkness.” Kirkus (Starred Review)
About the Author
Ottessa Moshfegh is a fiction writer from New England. Her first book, McGlue, a novella, won the Fence Modern Prize in Prose and the Believer Book Award. She is also the author of the short story collection Homesick for Another World. Her stories have been published in The Paris Review, The New Yorker, and Granta, and have earned her a Pushcart Prize, an O. Henry Award, the Plimpton Discovery Prize, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Eileen, her first novel, was shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Man Booker Prize, and won the PEN/Hemingway Award for debut fiction.