Friday, 24 August 2018

Review: My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshefgh

A shocking, hilarious and strangely tender novel about a young woman’s experiment in narcotic hibernation, aided and abetted by one of the worst psychiatrists in the annals of literature. Our narrator has many of the advantages of life, on the surface. Young, thin, pretty, a recent Columbia graduate, she lives in an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan paid for, like everything else, by her inheritance. But there is a vacuum at the heart of things, and it isn’t just the loss of her parents in college, or the way her Wall Street boyfriend treats her, or her sadomasochistic relationship with her alleged best friend. It’s the year 2000 in a city aglitter with wealth and possibility; what could be so terribly wrong?
This story of a year spent under the influence of a truly mad combination of drugs, designed to heal us from our alienation from this world, shows us how reasonable, even necessary, that alienation sometimes is. Blackly funny, both merciless and compassionate – dangling its legs over the ledge of 9/11 – this novel is a showcase for the gifts of one of America’s major young writers working at the height of her powers.


Review: This felt a little bit like a cross between Sweet Bitter and All Fall down but with a younger protagonist. I found this really intriguing and interesting to read. I definitely got along with the main character in the novel even if I didn't always like her but this book was definitely challenging at times, the way it pushes boundaries. The fact that this covers someone basically spiralling out of society and essentially going into hibernation, made me as a reader feel a little withdrawn and claustrophobic too!

As I mentioned, I didn't always like our main character but I wanted what was best for her and felt invested in her story. I enjoyed reading about her struggling with her relationships with friends and family and her theories about what would be best for her and what would best effect her health. She does some pretty extreme things and has some strong opinions so I could see that she wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea but I defy anyone not to be intrigued by her story and her personality in general. 

This book has the added bonus of being set in New York and so we see our main character not only withdrawing from society but withdrawing from New York society. She is in a city where you can get anything within a couple of blocks of your apartment, where the city never sleeps and it is possible to remain in a nocturnal way of life. The fact that this book is about someone being so inactive in a city which is so over active was a great contrast and made my mind bend even more. 

I listened to the audiobook of this courtesy of Penguin Random House audio. It was well-narrated and I think having one voice in my head telling this story led to me connecting to the main character even more and really feeling everything that she felt as she told it to me. This definitely wasn't an easy read but I would definitely recommend adding this audiobook to your TBR!

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

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