Book - 2015
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Dreaming of life in the city while caring for her alcoholic father and working in a 1960s boys' prison, a disturbed young woman is manipulated into committing a psychologically charged crime during the holiday season.
Publisher: New York : Penguin Press, 2015
ISBN: 9781594206627
Branch Call Number: FICTION Moshfegh, Ottessa
Characteristics: 260 pages ; 22 cm


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SPPL_Violet Jun 25, 2019

This is a short book, with most of its prose taken up with descriptions, flashbacks, and characterizations. What started as a plodding and prosaic story very quickly turned into a more taught thriller with lots of foreshadowing. While I had my grievances, they were few and far in between. More th... Read More »

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SPPL_Violet Jun 25, 2019

This is a short book, with most of its prose taken up with descriptions, flashbacks, and characterizations. What started as a plodding and prosaic story very quickly turned into a more taught thriller with lots of foreshadowing. While I had my grievances, they were few and far in between. More than anything, it was the narrator's voice that had a strong grip. I wanted to hear her thoughts about everything, and she didn't hold back.

Mar 22, 2019

Fantastically dark and quirky and so happily removed from some of the twee literature that seems to need to be written and read lately. Moshfegh's writing is gritty, cool, and not in some contrived way but because it needs to be, it's genuine. And she does it so masterfully. It's not some throw your hands up token social cause, it's not so faulty, obvious. Eileen and Moshfegh herself are very concerned with the matter of women's bodies: the dirty, deep-seated relation we have with them; what Sartre would call the 'slimey' nature of them. The reality of them as well as the complete alien disconnection we feel towards them, or are positioned to have more accurately. I really felt a strong connection to this book, to this clueless but also brave young woman, who has those parents, and her futile relationship to her father and his alcoholism. Eileen isn't polished, no excuses are made: she and this book have been accused of being 'gross': I remember when this was published and doing the rounds for the Man Booker people having such strong reactions to Eileen. But I didn't find her out of the ordinary--we, humans, are a bit gross, but labelling this book in that way casts it off as merely a trick.

Set in the 60s somewhere in New England, Eileen is 24, her mother is dead and she walks around wearing her mother's clothing. She sticks dead mice in her glove box. She purges after countless laxatives. Her sister, Joanie, the pretty one, fled home as soon as she could. She lives with her drunk father, buying him bottles of gin daily and works in a male juvenile prison at the desk. Her house is filthy. Her paranoid father sees things, gets outside to make neighbourhood trouble, but because he's an ex-cop, he gets just respect, affectionate reprimands. She fucking hates him, she imagines the icicles in their threshold driving into the gristle of his neck. She drives an old dodge, which with its dodgy exhaust, slowly suffocates her every time she drives. She is painfully embarassed by her body. Her life is dull and monotonous and she needs to run away, and as her 70-year old self narrates, she will. But not before Rebecca comes along. Rebecca is beautiful and smart, she is everything Eileen wants to be and everything she can admire. She is mysterious and alluring. And so we have a literary thriller, but again, to label it as that would be too simple. As cloying as the perfumes Eileen laughs at us for wearing to cover our organic, decomposing bodies. It's all so claustrophobic for Eileen: her body, the town, the boys' prison, her father, her family. This is about breaking free of the confines--of removing the slime, as it were. Eileen states: 'This is the story of how I disappeared.'

Just the writing itself is amazing. It is thrilling--smart and controlled. From the tone of the character, which is so pitch perfect, realistic, and unique, to the way she drops hints and builds suspense. It is both beautifully written AND a suspense. How exciting, refreshing, to find a young writer and a new career to follow. One of the best contemporary books I've read. Onwards to My Year of Rest and Relaxation.

Oct 06, 2018

Hate turned to love with this one! Eileen is maladjusted to say the least. Her home and work environment lacks any semblance to "normal" living or healthy mentality. This dysfunction is reflected in her bleak life. Much of the book trods through Eileen's impaired ability to eat, breathe, or relate in normal society. Much of the story affirms this. When I was about to give it a "meh" the story turned to its climax and drew me back in.

Jul 30, 2018

It is not often that I don't like a book. Well till "Eileen" came along I liked practically every book I read. "Eileen" maybe about character more than plot but the characters are not likeable. How long can one read and tolerate detailed descriptions of a dysfunctional family and the lead characters' dysfunctional job? There was nothing happening till the last few pages and then it was too little too late.

Jul 08, 2018

Didn't like this book at all...made myself plow through it thinking "this has to get better! But it didn't!! Read more as a "poor me" book. A waste of time!

Jul 04, 2018

Set in 1964 New England in the cold of winter, Eileen as an older adult narrates a disturbing tale of her younger self, aged 24, focusing on the last week of her time in her hometown, which she snarkly calls X-ville. Eileen lives with her alcoholic and verbally abusive father and works as a secretary at a prison for boys. Unhappy with her life, her body, and her identity, Eileen desperately wants to escape to New York. This desire gets muted somewhat when Rebecca, a beautiful and well-educated woman who connects with Eileen, arrives as a new employee at the prison. The plot builds up to Christmas Eve, when Eileen, expecting a delightful evening with Rebecca, finds herself in a situation where the only way out she can see is to commit a crime. Moshfegh spends some time explaining the details of Eileen’s life, which helps highlight her difficulties and creates a dark mood in the narrative. While the suspenseful turn in the narrative takes some time to develop, it is a turn that is unexpected and carefully crafted.

Feb 07, 2018

Bleah. I am not sure why I even picked up this book in the first place. There is a lot of foreshadowing without much of a mystery or secret to reveal. Just creepy disturbing people.

Vero_biblio Jan 09, 2018

This is set in the 1960s and it's narrated by this young woman, Eileen, who hates herself, dresses in her dead mother's clothing, and lives with her alcoholic father who treats her like garbage. She works in a youth detention centre and plans to escape her boring life for New York, when a glamorous woman joins her team at work. She falls -- not in love -- but in admiration with the woman and a weird mystery plot ensues. For fans of dark comedies.

inthestacks Aug 30, 2017

Eileen tells the story of her dull, tragic life living with a chronic alcoholic father and her dead end job in a boys detention centre. When she meets Rebecca, a Harvard graduate, who has been hired to teach the boys, her life takes an unexpected turn that completely alters her future. Something dark, twisted and amusing – uniquely enjoyable.

Apr 07, 2017

Very dark and twisted and utterly compelling. Not recommended for those who are easily offended.

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Jun 27, 2018

jjwoodard thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Apr 07, 2017

daysleeper236 thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over


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