A novel about a young woman’s efforts to duck the ills of the world by embarking on an extended hibernation with the help of one of the worst psychiatrists in the annals of literature and the battery of medicines she prescribes.
From one of the boldest literary voices of today comes a story of isolation, as our heroine cuts herself off from the world in an attempt to fill the dark and vacuous hole in her heart. First Look Club reviewers Chris and Jean join her on this strange path towards healing. Read their thoughts below.
The unnamed narrator
Chris says: There’s something deeply compelling and oddly fascinating about a woman who decided to shut out the world and drown out her thoughts for a year. […] She had an emptiness in her, a bottomless void that could only be silenced when asleep. […] She closed off her life, talking only to her friend, Reva, when necessary or forced, and to her sometime-lover Trevor when needy.
Jean says: She is young, beautiful, and rich. Everything in her life is paid for by her inheritance. And yet, we are introduced to her as she begins an extended “hibernation” with the help of an entire bodega’s worth of prescription drugs. Her life is falling apart, and she is determined to sleep it all away. […] She is apathy personified. She is scathing and unforgiving towards everything and everyone, including herself.
The weight of loneliness
Chris says: I took a deep breath and wondered how some of us could sleepwalk through life when there’s so much to live… If anything, what I took from this book is to be conscious of life, to be aware that any time, in a snap of a finger, it could be gone.
Jean says: Is a year-long hibernation just an extreme form of self-care, or is it a stand against a bleak and largely indifferent universe? Moshfegh’s dark humor and acerbic wit make this a uniquely engrossing read about the true weight of alienation and loneliness, and the lengths one must go to heal from it.
A bold new voice
Chris says: Ottessa Moshfegh’s strength as a writer shines through because despite the limited setting and characters, she’s able to keep the reader’s attention through her narrator’s soliloquy that is sometimes vindictive and other times pained.
Jean says: It’s strange how she could be such an unlikeable character, and yet you still find yourself rooting for her. It’s a testament to Moshfegh’s brilliant writing, as she slowly peels back these flimsy exteriors to reveal the surprisingly tender heart of the novel.
My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh will soon be available at Fully Booked stores. To reserve a copy in advance, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chris has written on Wattpad, yellowpads, and notepads. He works as a Systems Administrator by day and a recluse at night. Read his full review here.
Jean has, at different points in her life, worked in government, interviewed international celebrities, and been the social media manager for several brands. Read her full review here.
[Thoughts and views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Fully Booked. Then again, we love our authors anyway.]