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Eileen: A Novel by Ottessa Moshfegh
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Eileen: A Novel

by Ottessa Moshfegh

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9476913,813 (3.41)121
  1. 10
    Bury Me Deep by Megan Abbott (RidgewayGirl)
    RidgewayGirl: Both are excellent examples of American Noir.
  2. 00
    Hangsaman by Shirley Jackson (sturlington)
    sturlington: Moshfegh's style reminds me of Shirley Jackson; both novels had young, unreliable narrators.
  3. 01
    An Awfully Big Adventure by Beryl Bainbridge (Anonymous user)
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» See also 121 mentions

English (64)  Piratical (1)  Latvian (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (67)
Showing 1-5 of 64 (next | show all)
Really slow burn. It's all foreshadowing right up until something happens.

Creepy and unnerving. It's one of those books that feels like a writing exercise in building tension, but there's enough there and enough held back to make it a successful read. ( )
  asxz | Mar 13, 2019 |
This had a huge impact on me. Really really disturbing content and a protagonist that I could relate to (which is hard to admit). Scarily relatable. What an interesting female character - refreshing in her darkness! I was a bit disappointed with the ending though. ( )
  4227melanie | Mar 5, 2019 |
I haven't written a review in a few years, but "Eileen" by Ottessa Moshfegh is outstanding. Roll with it without expectations, and you'll be glad you did. ( )
  abbot | Feb 17, 2019 |
You could probably give her a meadow in the middle of nowhere as sole impulse and Moshfegh would create something dark, gloomy and incredibly well written. And she did, somehow - I don't think the plot is in the least ingenious, but rather a pin board for her powerful writing.
  Kindlegohome | Feb 8, 2019 |
Definitely takes a turn from being sad and despressing to being really weird and disturbing. Not unenjoyable though! ( )
  Katie_Roscher | Jan 18, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 64 (next | show all)
Moshfegh, whose novella, “McGlue,” was published last year, writes beautiful sentences. One after the other they unwind — playful, shocking, wise, morbid, witty, searingly sharp. The ­beginning of this novel is so impressive, so controlled yet whimsical, fresh and thrilling, you feel she can do anything....But for this reader, the thrill is the language. It is sentences like this: “The terrain of my face was heavy with soft, rumbling acne scars blurring whatever delight or madness lay beneath that cold and deadly New England exterior.”...Rebecca and her motivations, once we learn them, feel pasted in from another book. They do not square with the universe Moshfegh so meticulously created in the first part of the novel...The real excitement toward the end is watching Eileen come into a position of authority for the first time in her life.
 
It’s hard to imagine the terrible, drunken, addled father who visited the toilet with a handgun ever tolerating Eileen’s “blabbering on about my ideas, regurgitating barely read synopses from the backs of books … talking about how I felt about myself, life, the times in which we lived”.

The bad thing that is eventually revealed, and the bad thing that happens as a consequence, don’t quite live up to the atmospheric badness with which the novel draws along the reader. But there is something satisfyingly unsettling about the novel – the awfulness of Eileen’s life crackles throughout the air of X-Ville like static electricity, ready to discharge in some unlikely place or upon some unlikely person. And when it does, when the bell jar lifts, our heroine “open to the circulating air” and finally free, we can’t help but feel the slightest bit glad.
 
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I looked like a girl you'd expect to see on a city bus, reading some clothbound book from the library about plants or geography, perhaps wearing a net over my light brown hair.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
amazon ca :A lonely young woman working in a boys’ prison outside Boston in the early 60s is pulled into a very strange crime, in a mordant, harrowing story of obsession and suspense, by one of the brightest new voices in fiction...The Christmas season offers little cheer for Eileen Dunlop, an unassuming yet disturbed young woman trapped between her role as her alcoholic father’s caretaker in a home whose squalor is the talk of the neighborhood and a day job as a secretary at the boys’ prison, filled with its own quotidian horrors. Consumed by resentment and self-loathing, Eileen tempers her dreary days with perverse fantasies and dreams of escaping to the big city. In the meantime, she fills her nights and weekends with shoplifting, stalking a buff prison guard named Randy, and cleaning up her increasingly deranged father’s messes. When the bright, beautiful, and cheery Rebecca Saint John arrives on the scene as the new counselor at Moorehead, Eileen is enchanted and proves unable to resist what appears at first to be a miraculously budding friendship. In a Hitchcockian twist, her affection for Rebecca ultimately pulls her into complicity in a crime that surpasses her wildest imaginings.

Played out against the snowy landscape of coastal New England in the days leading up to Christmas, young Eileen’s story is told from the gimlet-eyed perspective of the now much older narrator. Creepy, mesmerizing, and sublimely funny, in the tradition of Shirley Jackson and early Vladimir Nabokov, this powerful debut novel enthralls and shocks, and introduces one of the most original new voices in contemporary literature.
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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. The Christmas season offers little cheer for Eileen Dunlop, an unassuming yet disturbed young woman trapped between her role as her alcoholic father's caretaker in a home whose squalor is the talk of the neighborhood and a day job as a secretary at the boys' prison, filled with its own quotidian horrors. Consumed by resentment and self-loathing, Eileen tempers her dreary days with perverse fantasies and dreams of escaping to the big city. In the meantime, she fills her nights and weekends with shoplifting, stalking a buff prison guard named Randy, and cleaning up her increasingly deranged father's messes. When the bright, beautiful, and cheery Rebecca Saint John arrives on the scene as the new counselor at Moorehead, Eileen is enchanted and proves unable to resist what appears at first to be a miraculously budding friendship. In a Hitchcockian twist, her affection for Rebecca ultimately pulls her into complicity in a crime that surpasses her wildest imaginings. Played out against the snowy landscape of coastal New England in the days leading up to Christmas, young Eileen's story is told from the gimlet-eyed perspective of the now much older narrator. Creepy, mesmerizing, and sublimely funny, in the tradition of Shirley Jackson and early Vladimir Nabokov, this powerful debut novel enthralls and shocks, and introduces one of the most original new voices in contemporary literature. -- Provided by publisher.… (more)

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