Ottessa Moshfegh’s second novel is as arresting as her first

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My Year of Rest and Relaxation. By Ottessa Moshfegh. Penguin Press; 304 pages; $26.00. Jonathan Cape; £12.99.

IN “EILEEN”, Ottessa Moshfegh’s dark and suspenseful first novel, the heroine reflected on how her 24-year-old self was coaxed into committing foul deeds. “This is the story of how I disappeared,” she explained at the outset, before recounting her journey from solitary misfit to co-opted accomplice. Ms Moshfegh’s second novel, “My Year of Rest and Relaxation”, is the story of how another 24-year-old woman disappeared, this time not from a crime scene but from the world at large.

It is the year 2000 and the unnamed narrator has decided to go into hibernation for a year, to forget the past and “sleep myself into a new life”. At first glance, there is nothing wrong with her current one. She is a Columbia graduate, looks like “an off-duty model” and lives in Manhattan off a sizeable inheritance. But it becomes clear…Continue reading

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