"Otessa Moshfegh claims to have gotten the idea for 'McGlue' from a news clipping published in 1850 in a Salem, MA area paper. The article announced the acquittal of a man named McGlue, for murder, under the justification that he was incapacitated at the time of the killing by a) a severe head trauma acquired on his mercantile travels and b) a self-induced drunken stupor. At just over 140 pages, Moshfegh's novella takes this relatively thin premise and turns it into a dark, guttural, grimy mystery, a tale of confusion and friendship and self-loathing written from the fractured, impaired perspective of a 19th century New England seaman - essentially, a pirate - in one of the most masterful uses of a first person unreliable narrator I've ever seen. McGlue's journey through the gray seas of repressed memory will make you sail through this book before you can put it down; its final line will render you speechless and heartbroken."
The debut novella from one of contemporary fiction's most exciting young voices, now in a new edition.
Salem, Massachusetts, 1851: McGlue is in the hold, still too drunk to be sure of name or situation or orientation--he may have killed a man. That man may have been his best friend. Intolerable memory accompanies sobriety. A-sail on the high seas of literary tradition, Ottessa Moshfegh gives us a nasty heartless blackguard on a knife-sharp voyage through the fogs of recollection.
They said I've done something wrong? . . . And they've just left me down here to starve. They'll see this inanition and be so damned they'll fall to my feet and pass up hot cross buns slathered in fresh butter and beg I forgive them. All of them . . . : the entire world one by one. Like a good priest I'll pat their heads and nod. I'll dunk my skull into a barrel of gin.