Our new pick for our Book Club is My Year of Rest and Relaxation, by American author and novelist Otessa Moshfegh. Our narrator should be happy, shouldn't she? She's young, thin,
Our new pick for our Book Club is My Year of Rest and Relaxation, by American author and novelist Otessa Moshfegh.
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.
“Because this is a novel by the superabundantly talented Moshfegh — she’s an American writer of Croatian and Iranian descent with a name like that of an avant-garde London restaurant — we know in advance that it will be cool, strange, aloof and disciplined. The sentences will be snipped as if the writer has an extra row of teeth . . . Moshfegh is an inspired literary witch doctor. She invents many of the drugs her heroine ingests, the way Don DeLillo invented Dylar, to placate the fear of death, in “White Noise.” These have serio-comic names like Valdignore and Prognosticrone and Maxiphenphen and Silencior. There was a joke at Rolling Stone magazine that if the drugs ran out at a party, one could find Hunter S. Thompson and suck on him. Depressives without prescriptions could lick Moshfegh’s heroine’s elbow . . . If she’s on downers, the prose in My Year of Rest and Relaxation is mostly on uppers. Like its narrator, this is a remorseless little machine. Moshfegh’s sentences are piercing and vixenish, each one a kind of orphan. She plays interestingly with substance and illusion, with dread and solace on the installment plan. This book builds subtly toward the events of Sept. 11 . . . Moshfegh writes with so much misanthropic aplomb, however, that she is always a deep pleasure to read. She has a sleepless eye and dispenses observations as if from a toxic eyedropper . . . Though this novel is set nearly 20 years ago, it feels current. The thought of sleeping through this particular moment in the world’s history has appeal.” –Dwight Garner, The New York Times
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.
As always, Book Club members (meaning you just show up) will enjoy a 10% discount on the next book club title and on every item they’ll ask for at the bar during the Book Club meeting.
Let’s meet up and talk Literature.
(Monday) 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
The Wild Detectives
314 W 8th St, Oak Cliff, Dallas