Ottessa Moshfegh is incomparable! Homesick for Another World is a collection of stories that are so weird, so darkly hilarious, and so poignant, I found myself veering wildly between the characters' vivid emotions. They are all damaged people who cling to the things that destroy them, wallow in the ugliness around them, and view their lives with a sort of detached amusement. Moshfegh's genius lies in her ability to write about such grubby, base subjects in a way that's beautiful — poetic even. Her stories are the gutter and the stars. Recommended By Lauren P., Powells.com
In many respects, 2017 was a depressing year, which gave me a little pause in selecting Moshfegh’s collection of bleak short stories as my book of the year. If you're looking for an uplifting bit of escapism to forget the morning headlines, stay far away from Moshfegh's work. The stories are depraved, the characters invariably lonely, and the entire vibe is just greasy. All that being said, Homesick for Another World is just too exceptional not to snag my top spot. Recommended By Casey M., Powells.com
Raw. Edgy. Unflinching. Ottessa Moshfegh's new book of stories (I told everyone to read Eileen!)
delighted me as Charles Bukowski did when I read him. I think Bukowski would have loved this collection! Recommended By Adrienne C., Powells.com
These are stories about despicable, lovable people. Moshfegh pushes her characters to the full extent of their reality, while handling them with an equal amount of care. Recommended By Bobby E., Powells.com
Ottessa Moshfegh's knockout debut Eileen was a bleak and oily affair, twice as bitter as burnt coffee and devilishly arch to boot. That novel's deadpan fascination with tragicomic oddballs — striving, unmoored, and nearly always in a state of decay — remains mercilessly intact in her first collection. This is acerbity par excellence and Moshfegh nestles it alongside pothole-dotted realism and dingy, off-brand bouts of wonderment. Homesick for Another World possesses a gaze that's difficult to meet and impossible to turn your back on. Recommended By Justin W., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
An electrifying first collection from one of the most exciting short story writers of our time
Ottessa Moshfegh’s debut novel Eileen was one of the literary events of 2015. Garlanded with critical acclaim, it was named a book of the year by The Washington Post and the San Francisco Chronicle, nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award, short-listed for the Man Booker Prize, and won the PEN/Hemingway Award for debut fiction. But as many critics noted, Moshfegh is particularly held in awe for her short stories. Homesick for Another World is the rare case where an author’s short story collection is if anything more anticipated than her novel.
And for good reason. There’s something eerily unsettling about Ottessa Moshfegh’s stories, something almost dangerous, while also being delightful, and even laugh-out-loud funny. Her characters are all unsteady on their feet in one way or another; they all yearn for connection and betterment, though each in very different ways, but they are often tripped up by their own baser impulses and existential insecurities. Homesick for Another World is a master class in the varieties of self-deception across the gamut of individuals representing the human condition. But part of the unique quality of her voice, the echt Moshfeghian experience, is the way the grotesque and the outrageous are infused with tenderness and compassion. Moshfegh is our Flannery O’Connor, and Homesick for Another World is her Everything That Rises Must Converge or A Good Man is Hard to Find. The flesh is weak; the timber is crooked; people are cruel to each other, and stupid, and hurtful. But beauty comes from strange sources. And the dark energy surging through these stories is powerfully invigorating. We’re in the hands of an author with a big mind, a big heart, blazing chops, and a political acuity that is needle-sharp. The needle hits the vein before we even feel the prick.
"[Moshfegh] is fearless in her probing of her characters’ emotional wounds, proceeding with such a sure touch readers are compelled, not repelled. The directness of her style demands that we register the life 'stuffed between the mattress and the wall.' While it is not always an easy read, this collection will leave readers with a sharper, more compassionate sense of the human condition." Booklist (Starred Review)
"Expertly crafted stories . . . There’s not a throw-away story in the collection. Each resonates with seemingly effortless, ineffable prose, rarely striking an inauthentic note—particularly memorable are the endings, which often land to devastating effect. The author’s acute insight focuses obsessively, uncomfortably, humorously on excreta, effluvia, and human foible, drilling to the core of her characters’ existential dilemmas. Moshfegh is a force." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"Homesick for Another World showcases her mastery with tales of a range of creeps and weirdos in despair… This cast of boors may not be the kind of folks readers would seek out to spend time with in real life. But in Moshfegh’s stories, their company is irresistible." Time
"Sentences looped and pulled into perfect slipknots: Moshfegh’s ear is original, and her command of form, expert. I would read anything she writes." Harper’s
About the Author
Ottessa Moshfegh is a fiction writer from Boston. She was awarded the Plimpton Prize for her stories in The Paris Review and granted a creative writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She is currently a Wallace Stegner fellow at Stanford.
Ottessa Moshfegh on PowellsBooks.Blog
My short story collection is called Homesick for Another World
. It's a book I worked on for four years. It begins with a story of an alcoholic Catholic school teacher who quits her job once her ex-husband pays her to stop harassing him with early morning phone calls, and ends with a tale of a girl in a foreign land deluded by superstition...