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April 7, 2016



The Christmas season offers little cheer for Eileen Dunlop, an unassuming yet disturbed young woman trapped between her role as her alcoholic father’s carer in his squalid home and her 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 handsome prison guard named Randy, and cleaning up her increasingly deranged father’s messes. When the beautiful, charismatic Rebecca Saint John arrives on the scene as the new counselor at the prison, Eileen is enchanted and unable to resist what appears 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, blending true noir and the eerie, unforgettable books of Shirley Jackson and Flannery O’Connor, this mesmeric, terrifying, sublimely funny debut novel enthrals and shocks, and introduces one of the most original new voices in contemporary literature.
Ottessa Moshfegh is an unforgettable new American voice, most certainly a an author to keep a look out for. The first thing that I noticed is how well all the characters have been well created, it made me believe this story. Eileen’s mother had died and struggles to help her alcoholic father and dealing with her day job as a secretary at a boy’s prison. Eileen is poor so she dresses in her late mother’s clothes.  Rebecca saint is a new counsellor at the prison dressed in posh clothes that Eileen admires. But Rebecca has secrets that will shock Eileen. The ending of this novel is superb, I certainly did not see that kind of ending coming. Loved it all. Highly recommend it.

From → book review

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