Book Review: My Year of Rest and Relaxation

Author: Ottessa Moshfegh

Review: I experienced this book as a slow burner, physically. Frustrated and tense I struggled to find a reason to continue beyond the first half; its bleakness was suffocating. And then I saw something else, a reminder of a line I used only a few months back – “I wish there was something I could take that would make grief go away”. What initially felt like indulgent escapism became a book about re-calibration and – quite literally – a renewal of a mind and body. My appreciation became visceral, the metaphors made sense as life for the protagonist emerged through death. With prose that’s sharp, witty and strangely poignant, I too came out the other side – dare I say – rested and a little more restored.

Pages: 289

Genre: Literary Fiction

Reviewer: Jody

Book Blurb:A shockingly, hilarious and strangely tender novel about a young woman’s experiment in narcotic hibernation, aided and abetted by one of the worst psychiatrists in the annals of literature. Our narrator has many of the advantages of life, on the surface. Young, thin, pretty, a recent Columbia graduate, she lives in a apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan paid for, like everything else, by her inheritance. But there is a vacuum at the heart of things, and it isn’t just the loss of her parents in college, or the way her Wall Street boyfriend treats her, or her sadomasochistic relationship with her alleged best friend. It’s the year 2000 in a city aglitter with wealth and possibility; what could be so terribly wrong?

This story of a year spent under the influence of a truly mad combination of drugs, designed to heal us from our alienation from this world, shows us how reasonable, even necessary, that alienation sometimes is. Blackly funny, both merciless and compassionate – dangling its legs over the ledge of 9/11 – this novel is a showcase for the gifts of one of America’s major young writers working at the height of her powers.

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