Top positive review
A Brilliant Page-Turner
Reviewed in the United States on August 15, 2018
For years I've been longing for a novel that would compell me to read the way I did as a child--voraciously and without distraction. Given the fact that I can barely read anything these days without taking breaks to play Words With Friends, I had all but given up; then came "My Year of Rest and Relaxation." Because the novel and its author, Otessa Moshfegh, are this year's darlings, I hesitated; popular books usually disappoint me. But I read this one in two days, and would have in a single sitting if I'd had the chance. It is simply the best novel I've read by a living author, and one of the best I've read in my life. Moshgegh's unnamed narrator is 26, beautiful and model-like, a Columbia graduate with a degree in art history and a job in a Chelsea art gallery. She's also alone and completely empty inside. Her cold, distant parents died while she was in college; she has no siblings; her unofficial boyfriend is a horrible jerk; her only friend is an annoying bullemic who she mistreats at every opportunity. Caught sleeping on the job, the narrator decides to put her firing to good use by devising a year-long rest cure. Armed with a huge variety of psychotropic drugs, sleeping pills and anti-anxiety medications prescribed by a shady, criminally incompetent psychiatrist, she shuts herself in her Upper East Side apartment and, supported by her inheritance and unemployment benefits, starts sleeping full-time. Nevertheless, things keep happening, both to her and to the world, during her fateful year off. Moshfegh's writing is brilliant, but what sets her apart from even the best of her contemporaries is the consistent pace of the novel. There are no dead spots, no dull passages, and none of the unevenness that ruins so many contemporary novels. "My Year of Rest and Relaxation" is that rarest of things: a profound, literary page-turner. I can't wait to read it again, along with everything else Moshfegh has published, and can't recommend it highly enough.