My Year of Rest and Relaxation
This event includes a book signing
July 26, 2018
7:00 PM ET
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
This event is free; no tickets are required.
Harvard Book Store welcomes acclaimed Man Booker–shortlisted writer OTTESSA MOSHFEGH—author of Eileen and Homesick for Another World—for a discussion of her latest novel, My Year of Rest and Relaxation.
About My Year of Rest and Relaxation
Our narrator should be happy, shouldn't she? She's young, thin, pretty, a recent Columbia graduate, works an easy job at a hip art gallery, lives in an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan paid for, like the rest of her needs, by her inheritance. But there is a dark and vacuous hole in her heart, and it isn't just the loss of her parents, or the way her Wall Street boyfriend treats her, or her sadomasochistic relationship with her best friend, Reva. It's the year 2000 in a city aglitter with wealth and possibility; what could be so terribly wrong?
My Year of Rest and Relaxation is a powerful answer to that question. Through the story of a year spent under the influence of a truly mad combination of drugs designed to heal our heroine from her alienation from this world, Moshfegh shows us how reasonable, even necessary, alienation can be. Both tender and blackly funny, merciless and compassionate, it is a showcase for the gifts of one of our major writers working at the height of her powers.
“Moshfegh is an inspired literary witch doctor . . . Like its narrator, this is a remorseless little machine. Moshfegh’s sentences are piercing and vixenish, each one a kind of orphan. She plays interestingly with substance and illusion, with dread and solace on the installment plan . . . she is always a deep pleasure to read. She has a sleepless eye and dispenses observations as if from a toxic eyedropper . . . Though this novel is set nearly 20 years ago, it feels current.” — Dwight Garner, The New York Times
“Electrifying . . . Moshfegh’s narrator’s final gesture, transforming herself into a piece of half-living art, echoes the odd and combative passivity of Herman Melville’s Bartleby, a scrivener who suddenly, inexplicably, refuses to perform his duties . . . In a country that celebrates doers, such a preference is grotesque, an inversion of the American ideal of prospering through hard work. But it also serves as a reminder that there is something to life outside the economic exchange of time for money and money for goods, even if that unnamed thing is obscure and perplexing and just a bit monstrous—particularly as a woman. Literature may not have the all the answers, but it can show us the power and allure of saying no.” —Vanity Fair
“Moshfegh has a keen sense of everyday absurdities, a deadpan delivery, and such a well-honed sense of irony that the narrator's predicament never feels tragic; this may be the finest existential novel not written by a French author . . . A nervy modern-day rebellion tale that isn't afraid to get dark or find humor in the darkness.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes
As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.
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