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My Year of Rest and Relaxation
Cover of My Year of Rest and Relaxation
My Year of Rest and Relaxation
A Novel
From one of our boldest, most celebrated new literary voices, 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

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.
From one of our boldest, most celebrated new literary voices, 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

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.
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  • Library Journal

    February 15, 2018

    Moshfegh's McGlue won the Fence Modern Prize in Prose and Eileen the PEN/Hemingway Award; the recent collection Homesick for Another World was a New York Times Notable Book. In the latest spiky offering from this of-the-moment author, one the publisher hopes will break her out, a young woman's life seems glowy--she's got good looks, good credentials, a fun job, and an Upper East Side apartment. But with her parents dead and her boyfriend and best friend both trouble, she withdraws for a year of drug-induced grappling with her sense of being emptily out of step with the world.

    Copyright 2018 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    February 12, 2018
    The latest from Booker finalist Moshfegh (following the story collection Homesick for Another World) is a captivating and disquieting novel about a woman's quest to sleep for a year. The unnamed narrator is in her 20s, lives alone on the Upper East Side, has plenty of money from her inheritance, and decides to hibernate with chemical assistance in the year 2000 in order to "drown out her thoughts" and avoid the world, since she "hate everyone and everything." Her only relationships are with the cashiers at her bodega, where she picks up meager supplies like coffee and animal crackers; her quack psychiatrist Dr. Tuttle, who dispenses pills like candy; and Trevor and Reva, her on-and-off boyfriend and college friend, respectively, neither of whom she likes much. For a while, the narrator's plan works: she takes "upwards of a dozen pills a day," watches movies on VHS, and willfully blanks out her life ("I was more of a somniac. A somnophile."). But when Dr. Tuttle's medication regimen intensifies and the narrator experiences strange, activity-filled blackouts from a drug called Infermiterol, she escalates her plan, with potentially fatal consequences. Though the novel drags a bit in the middle, leading up to the Infermiterol plan, it showcases Moshfegh's signature mix of provocation and dark humor. Following the narrator's dire trajectory is challenging but undeniably fascinating, likely to incite strong reactions and much discussion among readers.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from May 1, 2018
    A young New York woman figures there's nothing wrong with existence that a fistful of prescriptions and months of napping wouldn't fix.Moshfegh's prickly fourth book (Homesick for Another World, 2017, etc.) is narrated by an unnamed woman who's decided to spend a year "hibernating." She has a few conventional grief issues. (Her parents are both dead, and they're much on her mind.) And if she's not mentally ill, she's certainly severely maladjusted socially. (She quits her job at an art gallery in obnoxious, scatological fashion.) But Moshfegh isn't interested in grief or mental illness per se. Instead, she means to explore whether there are paths to living that don't involve traditional (and wearying) habits of consumption, production, and relationships. To highlight that point, most of the people in the narrator's life are offbeat or provisional figures: Reva, her well-meaning but shallow former classmate; Trevor, a boyfriend who only pursues her when he's on the rebound; and Dr. Tuttle, a wildly incompetent doctor who freely gives random pill samples and presses one drug, Infermiterol, that produces three-day blackouts. None of which is the stuff of comedy. But Moshfegh has a keen sense of everyday absurdities, a deadpan delivery, and such a well-honed sense of irony that the narrator's predicament never feels tragic; this may be the finest existential novel not written by a French author. (Recovering from one blackout, the narrator thinks, "What had I done? Spent a spa day then gone out clubbing?...Had Reva convinced me to go 'enjoy myself' or something just as idiotic?") Checking out of society the way the narrator does isn't advisable, but there's still a peculiar kind of uplift to the story in how it urges second-guessing the nature of our attachments while revealing how hard it is to break them.A nervy modern-day rebellion tale that isn't afraid to get dark or find humor in the darkness.

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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My Year of Rest and Relaxation
A Novel
Ottessa Moshfegh
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