My Year of Rest and Relaxation

My Year of Rest and Relaxation

by Ottessa Moshfegh


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My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

The New York Times bestseller.

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780525522119
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/10/2018
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 12,501
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Ottessa Moshfegh is a fiction writer from New England. Her first book, McGlue, a novella, won the Fence Modern Prize in Prose and the Believer Book Award. She is also the author of the short story collection Homesick for Another World. Her stories have been published in The Paris ReviewThe New Yorker, and Granta, and have earned her a Pushcart Prize, an O. Henry Award, the Plimpton Discovery Prize, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Eileen, her first novel, was shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Man Booker Prize, and won the PEN/Hemingway Award for debut fiction; My Year of Rest and Relaxation, her second novel, was a New York Times bestseller.

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My Year of Rest and Relaxation 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Emily Grace Acres 8 months ago
"Sleep felt productive. Something was getting sorted out. I knew in my heart - this was, perhaps, the only thing my heart know back then - that when I'd slept enough, I'd be okay. I'd be renewed, reborn. I would be a whole new person, every one of my cells regenerated enough times that the old cells were just distant, foggy memories. My past life would be but a dream, and I could start over without regrets, bolstered by the bliss and serenity that I would have accumulated in my year of rest and relaxation." Unfiltered and utterly unapologetic, My Year of Rest and Relaxation kept my giggling and cringing the whole time. Despite being beautiful, wealthy and thin our unnamed narrator finds herself depressed, anxious and unable to cope with the day-to-day of just being alive and awake. In order to continue living she decides to embark on a "year of rest and relaxation", her self-styled hibernation from the painful outside world and the even-more-painful thoughts running inside her head. Her goal is to be asleep for as much time as possible which she achieves with the help of her prescription-happy and zany therapist and an endless loop of Whoopi Goldberg videotapes that she uses to lull herself into an unconscious oblivion. I flew through this thing, despite having pretty much no plot to speak of I found it hard to put down. The book is written as though the narrative is within the mind of our main character and I really enjoyed her and her perspective. Her internal monologue is sharp, sarcastic and filled with dark humor and if that's your thing you will certainly love this read. Not all of this story is a walk in the park, after all our narrator is trying to be asleep all of the time for a reason but Ottessa handles these darker themes with great thought, tact and humor so even though the narrator might not be likeable in the traditional sense, I found her to be super relatable. This book also perfectly captured New York City for me, having recently moved away I loved getting to dive back in for a bit. Set pre-9/11 in the year leading up to it I thought that Ottessa Moshfegh's subtle foreshadowing added an extra something to the story. I will say that this is decidedly not a 9/11 story and not centered around it at all. This is a great novel and I'd highly recommend it to anyone that enjoys reflective stories, New York settings or dark humor!
miss_mesmerized 5 months ago
Looking at her from the outside, she has everything one could wish for: she is blond, pretty, thin, a Columbia graduate, stylish without effort and she has a job at a gallery. Due to her inheritance, she can afford an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. But that’s just one side of the medal, her relationship with Trevor has been all but healthy, her parents never showed any affection and thus losing them both when she was in college was a minor affair. What she is lacking is an aim in life, something that gives her a reason for being alive. She feels exhausted and just wants to sleep until everything is over. She slowly extends her time in bed, she even falls asleep at work and then, finally, she decides to hibernate. A crazy therapist provides her with medication that allows more and more hours of sleep at a time. She hopes that after a year of rest, she will awake as somebody new. Ottessa Moshfegh is a US-American writer who earned a degree in Creative Writing from Brown University and whose short stories were received with positive reviews. After her novella “McGLue”, her first novel “Eileen” was published in 2015 and made it on the shortlist for the 2016 Man Booker Prize. Having chosen a mostly unsympathetic protagonist for her former novel, I found it much easier so sympathise with her narrator in “My Year of Rest and Relaxation”. The young woman who is portrayed is quite typical in a certain way. She is the modern New Yorker who takes part in the glittery art circus, is a part of a subculture of believes itself to be highly reflective and innovative. At a certain point, the superficiality becomes exhausting and the aimless tittle-tattle and prattle don’t provide any deeper insight. “The art at Ducat was supposed to be subversive irreverent, shocking, but was all just canned counterculture crap, “punk, but with money”. Also her relationship does not go beyond superficial sex and one-night-stands that lead to nothing. Added to this is the easy availability of all kinds of drugs, of therapists who themselves are too crazy to detect any serious illness in their clients and therefore just fill in any prescription they are asked for. Even though the plot starts in 2000, the characters are quite typical for the 1990s and they need a major event to wake them up and bring them back to real life. The narrator tries to flee the world and takes more and more pills mixed with each other, as a result she is sleepwalking, even gets a new haircuts and orders masses of lingerie without knowing. Her radius is limited to her blog, her only human contacts are the Egyptians at the bodega at the corner where she buys coffee, the doorman of her apartment house and Reva, her best friend who still cares about her. Even though she is bothered by the things she does when she is not awake, she has become that addicted that she cannot let go anymore. Even though the protagonist is highly depressive and seeing how badly she copes with her life is hard to endure in a way, the novel is also hilarious. I especially liked her meetings with her therapist since Dr. Tuttle is riotous in her eccentric ways and their dialogues are highly comical – despite the earnestness of their actual topics. Ottessa Moshfegh most certainly earns a place among to most relevant authors of today.
Anonymous 6 months ago
Too deep and disturbing for my taste. I wouldn't have minded the disturbing part if there would have been a somewhat positive outcome. Instead it made me feel empty inside when I was done with the book. It did hold my interest. But it kept me waiting for a resolution that never happened.
Anonymous 6 months ago
I know this book got rave reviews but I just did not care for it. I rushed through the last forty pages and pretty much realized what was going to happen. Maybe I missed the point Was there a meaning here? If there was I surely did not get it
jnmegan 7 months ago
There are those who think a catnap in the afternoon is an extravagant indulgence, and then there is Otessa Moshfegh’s narrator in her newest novel, My Year of Rest and Relaxation. In this book, the first-person account is voiced by an unnamed woman who decides that she will spend a whole year sleeping as much as possible. Young, orphaned, wealthy and spoiled, she states that her plan to hibernate is meant to “drown out any thoughts and judgements, since the constant barrage makes it hard not to hate everyone and everything.” Mosfegh’s character believes that her endeavor will result in a metamorphosis, an epiphany that will ultimately illuminate her higher purpose. She enlists the help of a psychiatrist (whose medical ethics are on the far side of malpractice) to prescribe her as many medications as possible to induce a state of nearly constant unconsciousness. As she experiments with an implausible quantity of drugs, she often wakes to discover that she has spent the time wandering in a fugue state. Her bouts of sleep are only interrupted by her trips for food, prescription refills, looping VCR tapes and unwelcome intrusions by her only friend, Reva. Reva is a friend from her college days-insecure, but loyal and loving-and therefore pitiful and worthy of the narrator’s disdain. The book focuses more on character development and themes of millennial ennui, entitlement and mindless consumerism than on driving action. Moshfegh has proven again that she is a remarkable writer with a talent for delicately portraying characters with few redeemable qualities. As the novel progresses, however, the reader might find compassion for this damaged woman despite her self-centeredness and arrogance. Truly unique and finely crafted, My Year of Rest and Relaxation is as difficult to categorize as it is to put down.