November Book of the Month: My Year of Rest and Relaxation

As we’re getting into hibernation season, I thought it would be only appropriate to choose Ottessa Moshfegh’s new novel, My Year of Rest and Relaxation, to be our Book of the Month for November. The main character (unnamed, which makes it even easier for the reader to see themselves in her) seems to have everything our society puts value to: she’s rich, thin, blonde, pretty. But she’s fading, or rather she wants to fade, and believes that sleep is the answer to all the world’s noise and problems.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t, at one point, feel the same empty way she does. I believe all of us, at one point, have been seduced by sleep as way more than as a necessary bodily function. The way you hit a pause on life, the way you can just…not be for a little while - it’s magical. But for our leading lady, that sleepy seduction takes a toxic turn. She wonders (as many of us often do now), what the fuck is the point of getting out of bed at all? So, she tries to escape into sleep through a cocktail of pharmaceuticals and a fucked-up psychoanalyst. Spoiler alert, it does not go well. The depressing premise of the novel is carried out so well by the talented Moshfegh that you chuckle to yourself way too often for such a topic and send photos of pages to your friends because it’s so #relatable. (#LiterallyMe).

There’s a Wall Street ex-boyfriend that you definitely recognize from your own life, there’s a friend who loves her, but is jealous and bitter, there’s sleep, New York, and Moshfegh’s incredibly simple, yet brilliant writing. Get your copy now, and start!!

Ottessa Moshfegh reads and discusses her novel, "My Year of Rest and Relaxation" at Politics and Prose on 7/25/18. The unnamed narrator of Moshfegh's compelling and unsettling novel is a woman who has everything: looks, a brand-new degree from Columbia, a job at an art gallery, an Upper East Side apartment, and a substantial inheritance.