Tom MacWright

tom@macwright.org

I read My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh on

Review

So I started reading this before things got bad, globally-speaking, but kept on going despite reading a book about a woman staying inside all the time as I was staying inside all the time.

I don’t think it’s that good. It’s not terribly insightful or cutting. The micro-structure - the sentences, metaphors, asides - aren’t especially interesting. Where I found myself highlighting bits of The New Me or Conversations with Friends, and I can still offhand remember a few truly amazing bits of those - I just didn’t, for My Year.

Now, I read this as the world was collapsing outside my window as I calculated how many weeks of Clif Bars I had stockpiled, so take this with a grain of salt.

This novel was most worthwhile when it was the least realistic: when it’s quoting Dr. Tuttle, her psychiatrist, whose quack-therapy suggestions are hilarious, and near the end, when the plot edges into magical realism. But the schtick of the self-loathing, unlikeable beauty queen is always in-between: not fleshed out enough to be understandable as a person, not stylized enough to work that well as black humor.

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