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3.49  ·  Rating details ·  27,086 ratings  ·  3,754 reviews
So here we are. My name was Eileen Dunlop. Now you know me. I was twenty-four years old then, and had a job that paid fifty-seven dollars a week as a kind of secretary at a private juvenile correctional facility for teenage boys. I think of it now as what it really was for all intents and purposes—a prison for boys. I will call it Moorehead. Delvin Moorehead was a terrible ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published August 18th 2015 by Penguin Press
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Annie Quinn No, but I am glad to be in such good company. I loved the book and was astounded with the ending. I left wanting more, wondering what was to become of…moreNo, but I am glad to be in such good company. I loved the book and was astounded with the ending. I left wanting more, wondering what was to become of the protagonist. Had a Vernon God Little narrative flavour to it. Self loathing never looked so good. (less)
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Average rating 3.49  · 
Rating details
 ·  27,086 ratings  ·  3,754 reviews

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Dec 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: free-from-work
I couldn't be bothered to deal with fixing things. I preferred to wallow in the problem, dream of better days.

this book takes place in the early sixties and is about a woman named eileen dunlop, a tightly wound and inwardly unstable twenty-four-year old woman who works at a juvenile correctional facility for boys and lives with her alcoholic father in a shambles of a house. it chronicles the events of one week in a frigid new england winter after which she will unexpectedly leave town, never to return. i
Oct 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those willing to see the darkness in women
Recommended to Jaidee by: Esil
Shelves: five-stars-books
5 "repugnant, vile, fierce, exhibitionistic" stars !!

10th Favorite Read of 2016

I have never been so reluctant to give a book 5 stars.

This is a book that directs all its murky gaze on the darkness that lurks within women. Ms. Moshfegh slowly and repetitively dissects Eileen into all her gory parts from the darkness of her sexual fantasies that include post-pubescent boys, unattainable women, to visualizing her coworkers engaging in sex that both disgusts and titilates he/>
Wendy Darling
3.5 stars If you didn't like The Girl on the Train, you certainly won't like this. If you're interested in characters over plot, however, this is another solid entry into a excellent year for psychological thrillers.

Eileen is one of the most pitiable and despicable characters I've ever read; she is not only neurotically self-absorbed and insecure and suffering from severe sexual and emotional repression, but she's also prone to feverishly obsessive behavior. She lewdly fixates on a muscular guard who works at the prison where
Jul 01, 2015 rated it did not like it
Ottessa Moshfegh’s debut novel Eileen sounded like a great and intriguing read. The 1960’s, a girl’s escape from a boring life in a small New England town, a mysterious crime – there are lots of interesting plot points going for this book, which will be released in August 2015.

Unfortunately, this does not necessarily translate to the writing. Don’t get me wrong, Eileen Dunlop is an interesting yet thoroughly unlikable character, and her insights into her life range from bland and dep
Jan 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Eileen is nothing like the upbeat sassy song of old, C'mon Eileen. Oh contraire. She is mind shackled and deeply disturbed.

Reminiscing, Eileen tells her story that begins from her early 20's, in a town she refers to as X-ville, in a nonchalant way, telling it like it is. The self loathing; the daydreaming of love and escape; the kleptomania; the lack of hygiene. A misfit haunted by self image issues -No doubt a result from her upbringing and her emotionally distant drunk dad and her dead mother
Paul Bryant
Apr 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: novels

In the past few years quite by chance I have come across a rich seam of female self-loathing in fiction. You might think that women writers would be all about positive tales of overcoming the bleakness, and I’m sure many are, but not in these books:

Grotesque by Natsuo Kirino – the unnamed un-beautiful older sister spends her whole life hating everybody especially herself
A Day Off by Storm Jameson – the unnamed middle-aged alcoholic frump spends a day hating ever/>A
Elyse (retired from reviewing/semi hiatus) Walters
UPDATE: Kindle $1.99 special today!!!!!!!! I listened to the audiobook --but others who 'read' it also gave this book high reviews. Its a book I'll never forget --but read 'many' reviews!!! --to see if its for you! I loved it!


Eileen.....( LOOKING BACK at her life....when she was 24 years of age living in Massachusetts)....At the start of the story she tells us in a week - she will run away....
Plus we know Eileen has a menial secretary type job at a boys correctional
Sep 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Do not read Eileen if you don't like repulsive characters, if you're turned off by graphic descriptions of bodily smells and filth, or if you like your novels to be action packed. Do read Eileen if you like dark character studies and can stand to be strung along for most of a book before getting to the crux of what is being foreshadowed. Eileen -- the narrator -- looks back at a few days in 1964 when she was 24 years, and living a nasty life in a small town with her nasty father working at a nas ...more
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"What if she could smell that I was menstruating, and that I hadn’t washed? What if she smelled it clear as day but didn’t say anything? How, then, would I know whether or not she’d smelled it, and how ought I act to pretend I didn’t know Rebecca smelled it?"

Welcome to the anxiety-ridden mind of Eileen.

Eileen lives in a perpetual fantasy. Her words, not mine. She will undoubtedly go down in herstory as one of the most memorable characters I have ever read.

This is an "inside the hea
Feb 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
EILEEN did not work for all.

EILEEN Dunlap is a 24 year old disturbed young woman. She is unhappy, has atrocious nutrition, personal hygiene and lives like a pig. She has no self-worth, her thoughts for the most part are nasty and morbid and she is trapped in a forlorn life she detests with a passion.......until an 'inane' opportunity to make a change presents itself.

EILEEN has a stagnant, (almost nonexistent) plot that goes nowhere and a repulsive character analysis that seemed to go on forever with an ending that was pretty mitself.


Updated review, July 2018

This is a deadly, pointed book. I was a little afraid to re-read it, worried that it wouldn't live up to my memory. But it did.

Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one in the world who loves this book and so I clutch onto it, rather preciously, and feel wounded when I hear vitriolic hatred towards it. I wondered, as I read this weirdly wonderful, obscenely honest little book for the second time, why people hate it so much. I feel like saying to them, in a Jack Nichol
Dec 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Updated Review: December 23-27, 2017
I can't believe I didn't like this the first time I read it. Although I do remember enjoying the writing style but not being that impressed with the actual storyline—and I still stand by that opinion: the story isn't the most impressive part of this book. But I think Eileen is one of the most fascinating, confusing, and well constructed characters I've ever read about. It definitely helped to read her short story collection to get an even better idea of Moshfeg
Matthew Quann
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Does a book need to be inoffensive in order for you to enjoy it?

It may seem an academic question at heart, but it's exactly the question you'll need to ask yourself before reading Ottessa Moshfegh's polarizing Eileen. If you like your narratives clean, or you want your lead to have unambiguous morality, or you demand a likeable character, then Eileen is unlikely the book for you. Of course, if you are letting those things hold you back then you'll miss a swath of excellent literature of which Eileen is just a sin
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

When I saw David Sedaris had recommended Eileen as a must read - well . . . .

♪♫♫♪I came in to the library like a wreeeeecccckkkkkkiiiiiinnnnnng ball. ♪♫♫♪

Now that I’m finished? I could have saved myself a lot of trouble and simply read the synopsis because it TELLS. THE. ENTIRE.STINKING. STORY. Not even kidding. The only thing you’ll gain by reading the whole book rather than only the blurb are all of the up-close-and-personal descriptions of various odoriferous atrocities that, tru
LeAnne: GeezerMom
Aug 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
ON SALE FOR $1.99 THIS WEEK! May 17, 2018...if you can prepare yourself for some disgusting self-care and a bizarre protagonist, the story will wow my fellow oddballs. If you prefer commercial fiction, then stick to Lee Child and Jodi Picoult... Ottessa is not your writer.
Apparently, Im a total softie for a sociopathic narrator. When the person whispering in my ear is pathologically self-absorbed, that lovely and hideous freak usually has me wrapped around h
Peter Boyle
Sep 25, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: booker-nominee
If you enjoy reading extensive accounts of bowel movements from characters that love to wallow in self-pity, then this so-called "literary thriller" is the book for you. I'm afraid I didn't care for it very much.

The narrator is looking back on a seminal week in her life as a 24-year-old. Growing up in a drab New England town she dubs X-ville, Eileen leads a miserable existence. She lives in a filthy house with her alcoholic father, who insults her at every opportunity. She has major body
This is quite a brooding character study, very compelling in how it keeps on the cusp between disgust and empathy as you wait for a promised metamorphosis by the title character. You are taken into the mind of a 24-year old woman who is trapped in a sucky life. She tends to her despicable but ailing alcoholic father, a retired cop in rural coastal town in Massachusetts, while working as a sort of secretary in a correctional institute for boys. We come to learn she is surprisingly well adapted to ...more
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
Dear Eileen,

I wanted you to know that I didn’t fall in love with Eleanor Oliphant as half of the world did. I didn’t believe her story. I didn’t believe her damn tropical plant in the corner of her living room! I just didn’t.

But you, Eileen, I felt you were so real, so human and your story really blew my mind. What a thought provoking story you had to tell. I didn’t think you were weird, I just thought you were very clever by trusting me to be clever as well. Thank you, Eileen. For everything.
Feb 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Solid 4.5 stars. This book is not for everyone. Nothing...and I mean absolutely nothing significant happens until about 85% into the story but I still loved it...especially the tongue-in-cheek tone throughout the book. I've never known a character to engage in more self-loathing than Eileen. Somehow Otessa Moshfegh manages to make this funny.
Rae Meadows
Aug 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.5 rounded up. This book is definitely not for everyone. On the positive side, I found the writing to be taut and evocative, the setting so specifically bleak, and the off-kilter details of Eileen added up to a character unlike any I've encountered. Moshfegh's talent is on full display with the rendering of Eileen, this damaged, angry, funny, unreliable narrator. She battles against her small, sad life, even if just internally, and rubs up against violence, which seems to litter the landscape o ...more
What a dark, twisted little book. Getting a glimpse into Eileen's life and reading about the deeply (for lack of a better term) fucked-up way she thinks about herself and her surroundings was utterly fascinating to me. It almost felt weirdly voyeuristic at times, especially as you learn more about Eileen's (partly downright gross) habits and routines. The first two thirds are rather slow, but then the story picks up in pace quite rapidly, building up to what almost feels like the inevitable bang ...more
Sep 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Perry by: Robin
Shelves: 2touchup
Black Fable Falls a Bit Short of Feral Foreshadowing

Latest info: studio's trying to decide whether to cast as Eileen: Lauren Lapkus from "Orange is the New Black"(left) or DJ Qualls from "Z Nation" (right)

Eileen, the eponymous character, is one of the most pathologically pathetic and aesthetically repelling nudniks I can recall in the past decade or so of reading literature. In her wretched life as a guard at a boys' lockdown facility, she constantly thinks of sex with a co-worker and stalks him in her off hours. She li
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
I didn't love this quite as much as My Year of Rest and Relaxation, but I think I can confidently call myself an Ottessa Moshfegh fan now. She excels at crafting female characters who are sympathetic enough to warrant investment but abhorrent enough to shatter the conception that even the most contentious of antiheroines must above all else be likable. There's nothing sexy or pleasant or charming about our titular Eileen, and it's a breath of fresh air. The novel follows Eileen Dunlop, a 24-year-old friendless y ...more
Joachim Stoop
Man Booker Prize Jury (2016), Shirley Jackson Award Nominee for Novel Jury (2015), National Book Critics Circle Award Jury (2015), The Center For Fiction First Novel Prize Jury (2015), Pulitzer Price Jury (Finalist 2015):
"So, you wanted to talk to us about Eileen, mister Stoop?" (all jury members ask me -somehow in unison)

Me: "It's pronounced Stoop, with the 'o' of hope, not of doom."

Man Booker Prize Jury (2016), Shirley Jackson Award Nominee for Novel Jury (2015), National Bo
Mar 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Eileen is a disturbed, gnarled, viciously odd and unpleasant little creature. She might actually be the perfect girlfriend for the narrator from Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground, though I suspect she’d find him too cheerful. So, this book is clearly not for everybody. I’m not even sure if I liked it. But I certainly found Moshfegh’s powerful, alluring, pitch black writing impossible to resist.
Paula Kalin
Eileen, a Booker prize nominee, took me in from page 1. A weird but funny book that is not for everyone. The writing can be pretty crass at times, but you just have to let that go. Eileen is quite the character. She lives with her father in a slothingly house, eats peanuts for all her meals, wears her dead mother’s clothes, and fantasizes about certain people at work.

Highly entertaining, but weird. It’s not a long book, so give it a go.

4 out of 5 stars
Review originally published at Learn This Phrase.
I deplored silence. I deplored stillness. I hated almost everything. I was very unhappy and angry all the time. I tried to control myself, and that only made me more awkward, unhappier, and angrier. I was like Joan of Arc, or Hamlet, but born into the wrong life—the life of a nobody, a waif, invisible. There's no better way to say it: I was not myself back then. I was someone else. I was Eileen.
When I was in the middle of reading Eileen, I wrote on Twitter that it was one/>
What an ugly and dark book this is, then. It probably is a good thing this is not Moshfegh’s first contribution to the world of arts and letters, though this is apparently a debut novel. She’d won awards and recognition for her short stories and a novella in the past, and has received all sorts of recognition with this work.

Yes, I see the resemblance to Shirley Jackson. Was it at that level of skill? Probably. The language is very fluent…glossy and smooth…even if the subject matter i
Sep 25, 2016 rated it did not like it
Inauthentic and absurd.

The author is trying to convince me that Eileen-the-little-maltworm somehow springs into action in the last pages of the book. The premise is utterly unbelievable. It takes a whole different brand of sociopath than Eileen to accomplish such a task -- something with such definitive action and consequence. The author has no real grasp of her character's pathology so there is no way that she can paint a legitimate portrait. Even a cursory reading in Psych 101 woul
I just value this author’s writing so much that I could basically appreciate even her novelization of a restroom monitoring log. And this practically is one.
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Ottessa Moshfegh is a fiction writer from New England. Her first book, McGlue, a novella, won the Fence Modern Prize in Prose and the Believer Book Award. She is also the author of the short story collection Homesick for Another World. Her stories have been published in The Paris Review, The New Yorker, and Granta, and have earned her a Pushcart Prize, an O. Henry Award, the Plimpton Discovery Prize, and a grant from the Na ...more
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