My Year of Rest and Relaxation

My Year of Rest and Relaxation

Book - 2018
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"From one of our boldest, most celebrated new literary voices, a shocking and tender novel about a young woman's efforts to sustain a state of deep hibernation over the course of a year on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. 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"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Penguin Press, [2018]
ISBN: 9780525522119
0525522115
Branch Call Number: FIC Moshfegh O
Characteristics: 289 pages ; 22 cm

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Michyricondo Jul 11, 2019

Ottessa Moshfegh displays a deft hand at dark comedy with this title. I was at turns annoyed with and sympathetic toward the unnamed protagonist, and the surreal ending was most appropriate for the story. I look forward to reading other titles by this author.

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EljayJohnson
Jul 07, 2019

The novel as social experiment? So, I start by thinking, wow this is one astoundingly unlikable protagonist and this author is in love with being stridently shocking. Then -- no, wait a minute, this is the story of an extremely depressed, tremendously mentally ill addict dealing with great grief and loss. My heart aches for her in the midst of such self-destructive urges. Then Moshfegh really gets to work on her reader: how long can my empathy withstand the unending barrage of depraved and putrid acts/thoughts of our heroine? The answer: not to the end of the longest-ever 288 pages I have read. And unfortunately I was punished for finishing; as poor as everything was before it, the ending - literally the last page -was so cheap and manipulative I was disgusted.

The author is not without skill, wit, and style. But she put her talents to incredibly poor use here.

m
maipenrai
Jul 02, 2019

"Everyone hated me at school because I was pretty." Thus speaks the unnamed woman who wants to sleep for a year and takes every drug known to man to accomplish this. If this statement is true, perhaps everyone hated her because she was a complete narcissist - selfish, self-obsessed, lacking empathy, unable to form relationships and manipulative. After reading a novel I often ask myself what the author wished to accomplish. Sometimes the answer is simply entertainment. This is not the case with this book. I kept reading and hoping that there would be some rationale or insight. I hated this book so much that I am angry that I did not give up. I wanted to go to sleep for a year!! There is no surprise ending - the denouement is telegraphed by several big clues. The description of the woman at the end demonstrates an almost psychopathic vision of a person "diving" - as though she had beauty and a choice. And now our woman will record events so she can watch them over and over???? Horrible! Terrible! One of the worst books I have read in my 70 years. Kristi & Abby Tabby

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mikaylatianli
Jun 18, 2019

Gut-punch of an ending.

b
brangwinn
May 19, 2019

As I continued to read this story, I just like the protagonist, wanted to take drugs to escape. Spending a year sleeping isn’t my idea of a good time. I couldn’t believe how the psychiatrist was so happy to add to the collection of pills. I give this book higher marks than you might expect because, this really was creative writing, being able to document a wasted year of a person’s life. It is the kind of book I am compelled to finish reading just to find out what happened to the main character.

h
HKMar
May 17, 2019

This book is not my usual read, however; I am glad I did read it. I found it refreshing it takes place in the early 2000's (2001) so the modern present day is not in the mindset of the reader which allows you to feel nostalgia or recall where you were and what you were doing during those years. The main character is a chronically depressed and psychotic young woman that comes from a privileged upbringing. This book is relevant today because this was the precursor to the opioid crisis and this was right before 9/11. Reva's character is a relief from the somber and worrisome that is the main character. Overall it's a fascinating read if it's not relatable because it's an opportunity to be in a troubled person's shoes.

j
jmath_
Apr 08, 2019

It may have been because I read this book in one sitting, but I found myself in an almost dream-like, monotonous state while reading through this story. The main character's empty sense of existence may have you checking the time or wondering what day it is, yourself. That being said, this book has a really interesting take on a protag who has all the money she needs to waste away inside of an apartment, drowning in her own thoughts.

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Lady_Librarian
Apr 01, 2019

I went into reading this with pretty low expectations since it has such mixed reviews and I ended up really enjoying it. I can understand why some people don't like this book. The main character is really crude and unlikable. I think for me the writing is what made the book. I would say it's a book that you should try before making any kind of judgement, and then once you try it and hate it (or love it) judge all you want.

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lukasevansherman
Mar 19, 2019

This was a strange one. As a number of folks have noted, the protagonist/narrator of Otessa Moshfegh ("Eileen") novel is unlikable and unpleasant. Of course, likability is hardly a necessary quality for a character. Think of Lady Macbeth or Humbert Humbert or God. The attractive and privileged woman at the heart of the novel decides to hibernate in her apartment, taking a truly alarming amount of medication prescribed by her eccentric and wildly unprofessional psychiatrist. Her few outside interactions with the outside world include a needy friend, whom she doesn't really like, an ex-boyfriend, whom she doesn't really like, and an artist at the gallery where she works, whom she doesn't really like. For all the interpersonal dysfunction, it's a compelling and unusual book that builds to a powerful ending.

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nalahblueberry5
Mar 11, 2019

Enjoyed

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jmath_
Apr 08, 2019

'Although I understood that he was foolish, I trusted his resolve. He wouldn't let me out of there. He was too conceited to fail to keep his word, and too ambitious to give up the opportunity to take advantage of my offer'.

-pg 266

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