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My Year of Rest and Relaxation

by Ottessa Moshfegh

An arresting engrossing book full of absurdity and yet still wryly observational. It leaves you feeling anything but restful and relaxed. Wince-inducing witticisms mask the relentless pain of the hard-to-like characters in their quest to sedate the unbearable. The relentless savagery does make uncomfortable reading, although the original prose and laid-back lunacy results in piercing entertainment.

Extract

And during this lull in the drama of sleep, I entered a stranger, less certain reality. Days slipped by obliquely, with little to remember, just the familiar dent in the sofa cushions, a froth of scum in the bathroom sink like some lunar landscape, craters bubbling on the porcelain when I washed my face or brushed my teeth. But that was all that went on. And I might have just dreamt up the scum. Nothing seemed really real. Sleeping, waking, it all collided into one gray, monotonous plane ride through the clouds. I didn’t talk to myself in my head. There wasn’t much to say. This was how I knew the sleep was having an effect: I was growing less and less attached to life. If I kept going, I thought, I’d disappear completely, then reappear in some new form. This was my hope. This was my dream.

Parallels

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Asunder by Chloe Aridjis
 

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