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1,4488810,207 (3.44)143
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.
  1. 10
    Bury Me Deep by Megan Abbott (RidgewayGirl)
    RidgewayGirl: Both are excellent examples of American Noir.
  2. 00
    Looker by Laura Sims (RidgewayGirl)
    RidgewayGirl: Both feature unsympathetic main characters who constantly make the worst possible decisions.
  3. 00
    Hangsaman by Shirley Jackson (sturlington)
    sturlington: Moshfegh's style reminds me of Shirley Jackson; both novels had young, unreliable narrators.
  4. 00
    My Struggle: Book 1 by Karl Ove Knausgård (JuliaMaria)
  5. 01
    An Awfully Big Adventure by Beryl Bainbridge (Anonymous user)
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» See also 143 mentions

English (84)  Dutch (2)  Piratical (1)  Latvian (1)  All languages (88)
Showing 1-5 of 84 (next | show all)
I did not like this book and I did not like My Year of Rest and Relaxation, so I guess this author is not for me. My problem with the book is not the hateful protagonist and her disgusting quirks, although that didn't help, my problem is that nothing happens to Eileen until we are more than halfway through the book. There could have been so much more story about the Rebecca character and how she grooms Eileen, rather than endless descriptions of Eileen's filthy house and abusive father. In brief, I found the book boring and I found the audiobook irritating. Pretty much exactly how I felt about Moshfegh's other book. It's my fault, it should have been a DNF, but at a certain point I was too far in and wanted to know how it ended. Glad others enjoyed it. ( )
  squarishoval | Apr 17, 2022 |
I tried, but after listening to 40% of Eileen, I just can’t take anymore. She is self-loathing, antisocial, and pathetic. But, then again, that seems to be the point. Her life sucks (she has an abusive alcoholic father, works as a secretary in a juvenile detention facility, and has no social life except for stalking a prison guard - another loser. Although Eileen is a terrible book, I have no problem with Ottessa Moshfegh’s literary talents. The novel is well-written, but Eileen, the narrator, is a dismal human being. ( )
  glennon1 | Feb 7, 2022 |
Eileen is a piece of work. A sad and twisted piece of work, the product of a massively dysfunctional family and consequent extremely low self-esteem. Looking back on her life from the vantage point of fifty years in the future, her 24-year-old self was ripe for change. All she really needed was a catalyst. And that’s what Rebecca was, whatever else she might have been. In the cold days leading up to Christmas 1964, we watch Eileen deal with her lack of prospects, her alcoholic and abusive father, and her thwarted desire for a co-worker named Randy. If it weren’t for her active imagination, she’d have no life at all. But Rebecca changes all that and leads Eileen down a dark path to crisis and a sort of freedom.

This is a fine piece of well-crafted first-person narrative fiction. Eileen is both more unpredictable that you’ll predict and darker than you’ll guess. The retrospective narration, surprisingly, does not diminish the tension as the noir aspects of the story develop. Indeed, that probably ratchets up the tension since it is very hard to anticipate where Eileen’s story will go. Rebecca, perhaps, is the more challenging character, more force of nature, even enigma. We never learn Rebeccas’s story, which as Eileen informs us, is only fair as this is Eileen’s story. As such, it is tragically gripping.

Ottessa Moshfegh is a very fine writer indeed.

Recommended. ( )
  RandyMetcalfe | Dec 19, 2021 |
DNF at 40%
  OphelieDepoortere | Dec 7, 2021 |
While reading this, I was reminded of Claire Messud's comments when asked about her unlikeable heroine Nora. Like Nora, Eileen isn't likable--even less so. She lives a tightly circumscribed, dark existence in a dreary town. Her only life is internal--and bizarre at that. That doesn't stop her from being absolutely compelling. Moshfegh's writing is phenomenal; I could smell the dirt and grime through the pages.

Not a pleasant read, but it captivated me. ( )
  arosoff | Jul 11, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 84 (next | show all)
Excess drives the descriptions. It is as if Moshfegh has grasped the fact that few things excite modern publishers more than the grotesque and an author daring to be offensive. As a bottom-scratching, finger-sniffing, no hand-washing creation, Eileen never becomes more than a disgusting, impersonal caricature caught up in her fascination with her self-loathing: “Having to breathe was an embarrassment in itself. This was the kind of girl I was.”

Well-reviewed in the US, Eileen reveals a great deal about the gimmicky quest for the next big thing which often turns out, as it does here, to be far less worthy of attention than yesterday’s superior offerings.
 
Eileen could have stepped out of Flannery O'Connor or Shirley Jackson. Wonderfully horrible Humbert Humbert also comes to mind. Eileen may be "unfit for the world," but I was pulling for her. I wanted her to escape the prison of life with father, wished that her dreams of fleeing to New York might come true.

Eileen is a coming-of age novel about a formidable, yet flawed young woman. The norms of society disgust and seduce her at the same time. There is a sweetly sinister humor in Moshfegh's prose.
added by Lemeritus | editNPR, Jean Zimmerman (Aug 23, 2015)
 
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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He was a drunk, as I said. He was simple in that way. When something was the matter, he was easy to distract and soothe: I’d just hand him a bottle and leave the room. Of course his drinking put a strain on me as a young person. It made me very tense and edgy. That happens when one lives with an alcoholic. My story in this sense is not unique. I’ve lived with many alcoholic men over the years, and each has taught me that it is useless to worry, fruitless to ask why, suicide to try to help them. They are who they are, for better and worse. Now I live alone. Happily. Gleefully, even. I’m too old to concern myself with other people’s affairs. And I no longer waste my time thinking ahead into the future, worrying about things that haven’t happened yet. But I worried all the time when I was young, not least of all about my future, and mostly with respect to my father—how long he had left to live, what he might do, what I would find when I got home from work each evening.
I must have looked nineteen going on sixty-five in that foppish approximation of decency, that adult costume.
What I mean to say is that I was not fundamentally unattractive. I was just invisible.
Her lipstick was a cheap and insincere fuchsia.
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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.

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