Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.



by Ottessa Moshfegh

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,8031008,887 (3.46)151
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
    Hangsaman by Shirley Jackson (sturlington)
    sturlington: Moshfegh's style reminds me of Shirley Jackson; both novels had young, unreliable narrators.
  3. 00
    Looker by Laura Sims (RidgewayGirl)
    RidgewayGirl: Both feature unsympathetic main characters who constantly make the worst possible decisions.
  4. 00
    My Struggle: Book 1 by Karl Ove Knausgård (JuliaMaria)
  5. 01
    An Awfully Big Adventure by Beryl Bainbridge (Anonymous user)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 151 mentions

English (94)  Dutch (2)  Latvian (1)  Piratical (1)  All languages (98)
Showing 1-5 of 94 (next | show all)
Eileen takes care of her demented alcoholic father and works in a prison for boys. It is the 1960s and she is dreaming of the day she has the guts to leave for the big city, New York. Eileen is a mess. She shoplifts, is full of self-hate, and she stalks a man at work. Then Revecca comes to work and Eileen is obsessed with her as she becomes her first friend. But things turn horribly wrong.

Ottessa's first book is an award winner and one of my favourites of hers. Like most of her books, the horror comes at the end but it is a bumpy ride getting there. The narrative is witty and dark. Eileen is not a likeable person but her story is compelling. As she tells this story from the future, foreshadowing keeps us on edge wondering what is going to happen. A slowly moving story with a fast conclusion; this held me riveted. ( )
  ElizaJane | Sep 2, 2023 |
Not at all what one would expect...but oddly familiar at the same time. Half "coming-of-age" half "rustbelt noir"...worth savoring. ( )
  AmandaPelon | Aug 26, 2023 |
(7.5) I chose this for my crime fiction read. What a disturbing and depressing scenario is painted in this book. I struggled to like or even feel compassion for the protagonist. ( )
  HelenBaker | Aug 17, 2023 |
I liked this novel a lot, as I had the prior one of hers that I had read, My Year of Rest and Relaxation. This book is centered on a 24 year old woman who feels very little, longs for quite a lot, and seems stuck in a bizarre & horrible home life, while working as a secretary at the local youth prison. The author does very well in giving us knowledge of who Eileen is, how she got there & what her daily life is. And I found Eileen to be a very interesting protagonist, and also appreciated her perspective on the other people in her life. This is a terrific book. ( )
  RickGeissal | Aug 16, 2023 |
Ottessa Moshfegh is so good at these isolated, outsider characters who aren't particularly nice people but I can completely understand how they feel, and how they got to the dark places they occupy. I loved [b:My Year of Rest and Relaxation|44279110|My Year of Rest and Relaxation|Ottessa Moshfegh|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1597676656l/44279110._SY75_.jpg|55508660] and this was just as good.

Eileen is a much darker novel. She lives a very sad isolated life with her alcoholic father and harbours a lot of anger and resentment over the hand life dealt her. The story is told by a future, older Eileen looking back on her younger self so she can comment on how judgemental and repressed she once was from the perspective of growth and experience of the wide world. I really like this framing of the story.

I never really knew how the novel was going to end - there were quite a few turns it could have taken and I couldn't predict which one we were going to get which was great!

Loved it! I'm 2/2 great reads with this author, excited to see what else she has! ( )
  ImagineAlice | May 8, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 94 (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.

» Add other authors (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Moshfegh, Ottessaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alou, DamiànTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bresnahan, AlyssaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guerzoni, Gioiasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
For X.
First words
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.
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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

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.

No library descriptions found.

Book description

Trapped between caring for her alcoholic father and her job as a secretary at the boys' prison, Eileen Dunlop dreams of escaping to the big city.

In the meantime, her nights and weekends are filled with shoplifting and cleaning up her increasingly deranged father's messes.

When the beautiful, charismatic Rebecca Saint John arrives on the scene as the new counsellor at the prison, Eileen is enchanted, unable to resist what appears to be a miraculously budding friendship. But soon, Eileen's affection for Rebecca pull her into a crime that far surpasses even her own wild imagination.
Haiku summary

Popular covers

Quick Links


Average: (3.46)
0.5 3
1 18
1.5 3
2 43
2.5 7
3 142
3.5 56
4 187
4.5 17
5 49

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 194,989,175 books! | Top bar: Always visible