My year of rest and relaxation

Ottessa Moshfegh

Book - 2018

It's early 2000 on New York City's Upper East Side, and the alienation of Moshfegh's unnamed young protagonist from others is nearly complete when she initiates her yearlong siesta, during which time she experiences limited personal interactions. Her parents have died; her relationships with her bulimic best friend Reva, an ex-boyfriend, and her drug-pushing psychiatrist are unwholesome. As her pill-popping intensifies, so does her isolation and determination to leave behind the w...orld's travails. She is also beset by dangerous blackouts induced by a powerful medication.

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FICTION/Moshfegh, Ottessa
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Subjects
Genres
Psychological fiction
Published
New York : Penguin Books 2018.
Language
English
Physical Description
288 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
0525522115
9780525522119
Main Author
Ottessa Moshfegh (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* The unnamed 24-year-old narrator of Moshfegh's (Homesick for Another World, 2017) intriguingly bizarre second novel decides to hibernate in 2000. For about a year, aided by a dizzying parade of pills, she'll treat the Manhattan apartment her inheritance bought her as her den. Her occasional boyfriend treats her horribly, her only friend, Reva, annoys her, and her job working in a Chelsea gallery is literally tiresome: she spends part of every workday napping in a supply closet. None of this is new, though; she has just finally made up her mind to embrace the slumber she so craves. As medications' effectiveness begin to wane, she invents symptoms and increasingly disturbing dreams to elicit ever-stronger medications from her dubiously qualified doctor, until she lands on Infermiterol. Just one pill took "days of my life away. It was the perfect drug in that sense." Amidst her haze, which Moshfegh concocts with delirious clarity, the narrator recalls her dead parents—her mother, especially, resembles a fairy-tale villain—and doesn't disguise her inability to empathize with Reva, whose own mother is dying. Readers might have trouble "getting" her, but there is one thing they'll know that she doesn't, given the time and place. Propulsive, both disturbing and funny, and smart as hell. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Moshfegh's McGlue won the Fence Modern Prize in Prose and Eileen the PEN/Hemingway Award; the recent collection Homesick for Another World was a New York Times Notable Book. In the latest spiky offering from this of-the-moment author, one the publisher hopes will break her out, a young woman's life seems glowy—she's got good looks, good credentials, a fun job, and an Upper East Side apartment. But with her parents dead and her boyfriend and best friend both trouble, she withdraws for a year of drug-induced grappling with her sense of being emptily out of step with the world. Copyright 2018 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

It's early 2000 on New York City's Upper East Side, and the alienation of Moshfegh's unnamed young protagonist from others is nearly complete when she initiates her yearlong siesta, during which time she experiences limited personal interactions. Her parents have died; her relationships with her bulimic best friend Reva, an ex-boyfriend, and her drug-pushing psychiatrist are unwholesome. As her pill-popping intensifies, so does her isolation and determination to leave behind the world's travails. She is also beset by dangerous blackouts induced by a powerful medication. Moshfegh is on familiar ground telling a dark story, saturated with a litany of descriptions reminiscent of Brett Easton Ellis's American Psycho. VERDICT Interest in the narrator's long-lasting sleep trial may diminish before the novel ends, but her story is neither restful nor relaxing. The author's award-winning novel Eileen similarly portrayed a disturbed young woman seeking to escape her existence, but this work is not nearly as dark, though it's certainly as provocative and even occasionally funny. [See Prepub Alert, 1/22/18.]—Faye Chadwell, Oregon State Univ., Corvallis Copyright 2018 Library Journal.

Review by PW Annex Reviews

The latest from Booker finalist Moshfegh (following the story collection Homesick for Another World) is a captivating and disquieting novel about a woman's quest to sleep for a year. The unnamed narrator is in her 20s, lives alone on the Upper East Side, has plenty of money from her inheritance, and decides to hibernate with chemical assistance in the year 2000 in order to "drown out her thoughts" and avoid the world, since she "hate everyone and everything." Her only relationships are with the cashiers at her bodega, where she picks up meager supplies like coffee and animal crackers; her quack psychiatrist Dr. Tuttle, who dispenses pills like candy; and Trevor and Reva, her on-and-off boyfriend and college friend, respectively, neither of whom she likes much. For a while, the narrator's plan works: she takes "upwards of a dozen pills a day," watches movies on VHS, and willfully blanks out her life ("I was more of a somniac. A somnophile."). But when Dr. Tuttle's medication regimen intensifies and the narrator experiences strange, activity-filled blackouts from a drug called Infermiterol, she escalates her plan, with potentially fatal consequences. Though the novel drags a bit in the middle, leading up to the Infermiterol plan, it showcases Moshfegh's signature mix of provocation and dark humor. Following the narrator's dire trajectory is challenging but undeniably fascinating, likely to incite strong reactions and much discussion among readers. (July) Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly Annex.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

After losing her parents, a young college graduate in New York City spends a year alienating the world under the influence of a crazy combination of drugs. By the author of Eileen.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"From one of our boldest, most celebrated new literary voices, a shocking and tender novel about a young woman's efforts to sustain a state of deep hibernation over the course of a year on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. 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"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

After losing her parents, a young college graduate in New York City spends a year under the influence of a crazy combination of drugs to help heal herself from her feeling of alienation from the world.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

Named a Best Book of the Year by The Washington Post, Time, NPR, Amazon,Vice, Bustle, The New York Times, The Guardian, Kirkus Reviews, Entertainment Weekly, The AV Club, & AudibleA New York Times Bestseller“One of the most compelling protagonists modern fiction has offered in years: a loopy, quietly furious pillhead whose Ambien ramblings and Xanaxed b*tcheries somehow wend their way through sad and funny and strange toward something genuinely profound.” — Entertainment Weekly “Darkly hilarious . . . [Moshfegh’s] the kind of provocateur who makes you laugh out loud while drawing blood.” —VogueFrom 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.