My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

My Year of Rest and Relaxation

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
  • The Idiot by Elif Batuman
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Explicit sexual content