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Eileen: A Novel by Ottessa Moshfegh
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Eileen: A Novel (edition 2016)

by Ottessa Moshfegh (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,0517412,687 (3.42)128
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.
Member:j_aroche
Title:Eileen: A Novel
Authors:Ottessa Moshfegh (Author)
Info:Penguin Books (2016), Edition: Reprint, 272 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:None

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Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh

  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 128 mentions

English (70)  Dutch (2)  Piratical (1)  Latvian (1)  All languages (74)
Showing 1-5 of 70 (next | show all)
A very weak mystery told from the point-of-view of an unlikable, disgusting woman. I didn't enjoy this pointless story. ( )
  Caroline77 | Jan 7, 2020 |
This is a strangely compelling book. Not a lot happens for ages, the protagonist is pretty unpleasant in her descriptions of her self, her bad habits, and her family life with her awful, drunk father. Then a whole load of slightly unexpected plot turns up. It's all quite odd really, and I'm still not really sure how much I liked it. But that's probably a good sign. ( )
  AlisonSakai | Jan 2, 2020 |
Exquisitely tedious. ( )
  Lemeritus | Nov 5, 2019 |
3.5 ( )
  Jonez | Oct 24, 2019 |
So gross and sickening that you cant help but keep reading. Some people think the book isnt well paced - slow at the beginning and picks up abruptly- however I didnt think it was that abrupt. I actually liked the thriller element towards the end - I needed to know what happened. ( )
  preetibee | Aug 31, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 70 (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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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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