This is not for the feint at heart! I might have read it anyway, but it was chosen for a group (BookerPrize Group for August). I postponed it until closer to the discussion, but couldn’t wait anymore I knew the schedule and it came up on sale. (lol)
I disliked every single character in this book. They are all (every one of them) sick, ugly, and very realistically drawn. That said, the combination makes for a good story and I certainly don’t judge a book by if I “like” the characters. .
by Ottessa Moshfegh
2016 / 272 pages
read by Aylssa Bresnahan – 8h 46m
rating – 7/A – literary suspense
Eileen Dunlop is a youngish woman whose mother died some years prior and at the point of the main story lives alone with her father. Her father is a chronic drunkard – a danger. Eileen is not much better, but she’s young, employed at a juvenile detention center, and not really dangerous. She tells us her story in 1st person from the vantage point of a couple decades later.
Eileen’s mental issues are apparent from the start – she’s incredibly self-pitying, resentful and judgmental. She and her father have let the house fall apart in the worst ways and she’s lazy, smelly, skinny, friendless – hateful really. She even despises herself and she’s horribly lonely. She’s wanted to leave for years. Eileen seems to be telling us the truth of the ugly situation – as she sees it anyway – that’s not a problem.
Then one day a new co-worker shows up at the detention center and befriends Eileen. Rebecca St. John is everything Eileen wants in a friend.
The suspense is excellent and the writing quite good – it was even short-listed for the Man Booker Prize. If you enjoy suspense and can tolerate a fair amount of wickedness, (retold, not graphic) I say go for it.