My year of rest and relaxation

356 pages

English language

Published July 10, 2018

ISBN:
978-0-525-63193-4
Copied ISBN!
OCLC Number:
1044537985

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4 stars (61 reviews)

Early 2000 on New York City's Upper East Side. The alienation of an 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. -- adapted from back cover

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 …

9 editions

Review of 'My Year of Rest and Relaxation' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

4/5

This book grew on me towards the end. The idea of a privileged, selfish woman trying to achieve rebirth by 'hibernating' is not one I've come across (if anyone has, I would very much like to know more). I think it's even more interesting for such a vain and shallow character to make such a decision. It's absolutely absurd and it would be impossible if it weren't for her financial stability—at the expense of being orphaned and receiving a handsome inheritance—it's all so outrageous and ironic!

A recommend for anyone who likes books that make it difficult for you to decide whether you hate them or love them.

R&R

3 stars

1) "I had started 'hibernating' as best I could in mid-June of 2000. I was twenty-four years old. I watched summer die and autumn turn cold and gray through a broken slat in the blinds. My muscles withered. The sheets on my bed yellowed, although I usually fell asleep in front of the television on the sofa, which was from Pottery Barn and striped blue and white and sagging and covered in coffee and sweat stains.

I didn't do much in my waking hours besides watch movies. I couldn't stand to watch regular television. Especially at the beginning, TV aroused too much in me, and I'd get compulsive about the remote, clicking around, scoffing at everything and agitating myself. I couldn't handle it. The only news I could read were the sensational headlines on the local daily papers at the bodega. I'd quickly glance at them as I paid for …

Review of 'My Year of Rest and Relaxation' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

"I spent a lot of time staring at [Whoopi Goldberg] on screen and picturing her vagina. Solid, honest, magenta."

I don't know why but that line doubled me over. It's the sort of humor I've always been drawn to. Enough tension between earnestness and irony that it is neither one nor the other; it is both. That is the sense I had overall when reading Moshfegh's novel. I've read comparison's to the old HBO show Girls and I think that's apt, though for whatever reason I appreciated this novel a lot more than I ever appreciated Girls, which I found lacking in enough substance to justify it's privileged and vacant characters.

There are themes in this novel that are peculiar and I haven't thought enough about them to decide whether they are illusory or profound, but I did appreciate the lack of tidy epiphanies and Moshfegh's instinct to counter reader …

Review of 'My Year of Rest and Relaxation' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

4.5 stars

There is a weirdness, a paranoia, that I particularly like in Ottessa Moshfegh’s stories. They operate in extreme conditions, somewhere between disgust and immense sadness. Her stories are strange and devastating, beautifully devastating. In a certain sense, throughout her books, the present is a place that the narrators tend not to want to be, they rather be in another place, in another timeline.

The narrator in My Year of Rest and Relaxation is a blonde, thin, pretty and financially independent young woman. She lives in Yorkville, Upper East Side NY and she is trapped in bleak, punishing circumstances. She has lost both her parents in a short space of time and she is trapped in a manipulating, ferocious and punishing relationship with an older man.

The book is painful, you can sense the depth of her grief and suffering, but more of that of being someone who does …

Review of 'My Year of Rest and Relaxation' on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

 I heard and read great things about this novel and the word that got me most was that it was "profound." I bought it, started reading it, and waited for the profundity. And waited. And waited. I never found it. Instead I found it to be workmanlike writing that any decent writer willing to put in the work could have written. I didn't come across a single new idea or observation in this book. I found it humorless and unconvincing—it's in the first person and the author describes herself as physically beautiful but not in a way that someone like that would ever do. At times, Moshfegh chokes her prose with lists of physical items to portray a subject's character. Good writers don't resort to this or let their narrators do so. They get tedious after awhile.
 If you read it, you'll find that it goes quickly. That's more because …

Review of 'My Year of Rest and Relaxation' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

November in New England proooobably isn't the best time to pick this book up, since the sun sets at 4pm and seasonal depression is looming around the corner, but I managed to power through reading MY YEAR OF REST AND RELAXATION.

I'm kind of at a loss for how to really summarize/ rate this book. Despite every character (including the main character) being utterly deplorable and trauma building upon trauma throughout the story, I couldn't put it down and it gave me a lot to think about.

Depression is a monster, and I think that Moshfegh manages to capture the worst of it, expertly.

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Subjects

  • Fiction
  • Young women
  • Solitude
  • Medication abuse
  • Quacks and quackery

Places

  • New York (State)
  • New York (N.Y.)
  • New York

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