My Year of Rest and Relaxation

Penguin Pr. Jul. 2018. 304p. ISBN 9780525522119. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780525522126. F
It's early 2000 on New York City's Upper East Side, and the alienation of Moshfegh's 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. Moshfegh is on familiar ground telling a dark story, saturated with a litany of descriptions reminiscent of Brett Easton Ellis's American Psycho.
VERDICT Interest in the narrator's long-lasting sleep trial may diminish before the novel ends, but her story is neither restful nor relaxing. The author's award-winning novel Eileen similarly portrayed a disturbed young woman seeking to escape her existence, but this work is not nearly as dark, though it's certainly as provocative and even occasionally funny. [See Prepub Alert, 1/22/18.]
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