My Year of Rest and Relaxation

My Year of Rest and Relaxation

Book - 2019
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It's early 2000 on New York City's Upper East Side, and the alienation of Moshfegh's unnamed young protagonist from others is nearly complete when she initiates her yearlong siesta, during which time she experiences limited personal interactions. Her parents have died; her relationships with her bulimic best friend Reva, an ex-boyfriend, and her drug-pushing psychiatrist are unwholesome. As her pill-popping intensifies, so does her isolation and determination to leave behind the world's travails. She is also beset by dangerous blackouts induced by a powerful medication.
Publisher: New York, New York :, Penguin Books,, 2019.
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9780525522133
Characteristics: 288 pages ;,20 cm.

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m
maipenrai
Mar 20, 2021

"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

a
afrate833
Feb 16, 2021

4 star

k
kmm398
Feb 11, 2021

This book makes me feel like standing at the bus stop in the rain, a heavy backpack that I continually have to readjust between shoulders, flared jeans wet at the bottom, socks soaking around cold toes, and the shiver of the 4 o'clock wind breezing past the small opening between my zipped-up jacket and neck. When it was all over, it did give me the warmth of stepping onto the bus and sitting on the leathery seat, the weight of the backpack off my shoulders; but it took time for the socks and jeans to dry.

r
rclane
Jan 18, 2021

I'm not really sure why all the fuss about this book. A whole lotta nothing happens here, though the devotions of nothing are well done. Like Seinfeld, but not as funny.

flightofabluebird Dec 18, 2020

This is a very unique story. I enjoyed reading it, as it address some pretty serious issues when it comes to mental health and problematic prescriptions (and doctors). I saw the ending coming, which made it easier to actually read, but not any less sad.

j
jjacula
Dec 13, 2020

I did not like this book. I feel the theme of this book was sleep and drugs would fix everything. Death in a family just get some drugs to make some sleep, and then you will feel better.

b
becker
Jun 14, 2020

This is a crazy story but it addresses some pretty deep issues. I think it takes a talented author to pull this off. I was always on the verge of putting it down. On the surface, it's really not my thing but I kept thinking I would read just a bit further, and a bit further, and no one was more surprised than me when I got to the end. I really feel like the author was in complete control of my reading experience the whole time and I haven't had that happen very often. Crazy, crazy story!

CALS_Lee May 01, 2020

Moshfegh has written misanthropic fiction in which her wretched characters suffer deeply during the 1850s (McGlue), the 1950s (Eileen), the current day (Homesick for Another World), and now that nightmarish period of American meaninglessness between the end of the Cold War and 9/11, when all we really had anymore was peace and prosperity. The unnamed narrator of this novel is the least wretched so far in material terms - she's a wealthy heiress and beautiful as a supemodel - but that means little. She'll hold her own in existential ennui.

Her career in the arts world is a joke because the art world is a joke, completely colonized by capitalism (“Stacey Bloom had started a magazine called Kun(s)t about ‘women in the arts,’ mostly profiles of rich art-party girls who were starting their own fashion lines or opening galleries or nightclubs or starring in indie movies. Her father was the president of Citibank.”). Her parents were always cold to her and now they're both dead. She dislikes her only friend. She decides to use prescription medication to sleep most of a year away, hoping to emerge a changed person on the inside (but not the outside - "I was born into privilege," I told Ping Xi. "I am not going to squander that. I'm not a moron.").

Does it work? Moshfegh suggested that she might be prepared to believe in the possibility of transformation from miserableness to happiness in Eileen, as that character narrated her story decades afterwards the story's events from evidently a much better place. Here she seems ambivalent. The story ends on 9/11, with the image of a jumper falling to her death from the Towers: "I am overcome by awe, not because she looks like Reva, and I think it's her, almost exactly her, and not because Reva and I had been friends, or because I'll never see her again, but because she is beautiful. There she is, a human being, diving into the unknown, and she is wide awake."

9/11 as an awakening moment has been used a lot, of course, but usually it's meant in an active, improving way. Here it's referenced using the image of someone just becoming aware moments before plummeting to their death, so... pluses and minuses, I suppose.

j
jump8999
Mar 19, 2020

funny

b
BookGrind
Mar 13, 2020

Dark hilarious novel for dark ridiculous times. Ottessa Moshfegh more than any other writer I have read recently, is able to evoke the mood of our strange era. There are disgusting moments, as in Eileen, so if you only like bright pretty things and characters that never have a dark thought then this book is not for you.
Nothing much happens in the book, and the things that do are glossed over in a veil of apathy as the protagonist delves deeper into her depression and drug induced despair, but the author somehow makes it a riveting journey and a great characterful read.
I especially love the descriptions of the installations in the art gallery in - Chelsea (I think?) NYC. Anyone who has wandered through the ridiculous high-concept garbage that passes for art in those galleries will no doubt howl with laughter. I did.
I cannot wait for more books by Ottessa Moshfeg!

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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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