My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh
Told with the same unique combination of candour, biting black humour and insightful human understanding that caught readers’ attention in her Man Booker Prize-shortlisted novel Eileen, My Year of Rest and Relaxation is shock-factor fiction at its finest.
Infermiterol: For when you don’t want to get up until it’s over.
Beautiful, young, successful and wealthy, the novel’s narrator lives in an endless bubble of social engagements, caught up in the heady thrill of early 2000’s New York. Superficially her life is perfect but there is a void at the centre of her world.
Fuelled by an unscrupulous psychiatrist - a wonderfully grotesque figure - she begins a regimented programme of hibernation; induced and sustained by a cocktail of narcotics and aided by an avant-garde artist chronicling her descent into self-created somnolence.
Ably considering the relationship between the deceptively shimmering surface and what lies beneath, Ottessa Moshfegh's second novel perfectly depicts a generation poised on the brink of 9/11 whilst holding up a mirror to the crises of our own fragmented, overloaded and superficially motivated times. As the New York Times comments, ‘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.’ Extraordinary accomplished, My Year of Rest and Relaxation demonstrates the prodigious talents of an author willing to look squarely at uncomfortable, unlikeable characters and themes with unflinching candour. It is surely the work of one of America’s most exciting young writers.
Our favourite quote: 'I did crave attention, but I refused to humiliate myself by asking for it.'
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