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Homesick for Another World

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  11,546 ratings  ·  1,648 reviews
An electrifying first collection from one of the most exciting short story writers of our time.

There's something eerily unsettling about Ottessa Moshfegh's stories, something almost dangerous, while also being delightful, and even laugh-out-loud funny. Her characters are all unsteady on their feet in one way or another; they all yearn for connection and betterment, though
Hardcover, 294 pages
Published January 17th 2017 by Penguin Press
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Lynn Kiesewetter Yup, I ask the same questions. But just saw David Sedaris' comment about laughing hard reading these, so maybe I need to not feel revulsion but try to…moreYup, I ask the same questions. But just saw David Sedaris' comment about laughing hard reading these, so maybe I need to not feel revulsion but try to see the humor? Oy........(less)
Sonja Leser
Bettering Myself
Mr. Wu
The Weirdos
A Dark and Winding Road
No Place for Good People
An Honest Woman
The Beach Boy
Nothing Ever Happens Here

Bettering Myself
Mr. Wu
The Weirdos
A Dark and Winding Road
No Place for Good People
An Honest Woman
The Beach Boy
Nothing Ever Happens Here
Dancing in the Moonlight
The Surrogate
The Locked Room
A Better Place(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.74  · 
Rating details
 ·  11,546 ratings  ·  1,648 reviews

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Jun 29, 2016 rated it liked it
The good stories in this collection are brilliant. I am quite a fan of this writer. So many mordant observations of contemporary life. Lots of resignation in the characters and people who see the world without sentimentality. A bizarre and increasingly annoying preoccupation with fat and detailed descriptions of fatness. Like nearly every story someone is fat. Which is also reality. It just seems to be a specific preoccupation that became noticeable to the point of distraction. And it's fine. Ju ...more
Jan 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Otessa Moshfegh had me with her Booker nominated Eileen. While the book was really creepy, Moshfegh pulled off quite a feat in creating such a relentlessly but complex unsavoury protagonist. That talent didn't play out as well for me in this short story collection. There were a few stories I really liked, but overall, as a collection, the stories started to feel like too much of the same flavour. Moshfegh is extremely talented at depicting flawed disturbed characters, and she certainly doesn't s ...more
Jan 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-fiction, owned
And anyway, there is no comfort here on Earth. There is pretending, there are words, but there is no peace. Nothing is good here. Nothing. Every place you go on Earth, there is more nonsense.

Trying to make sense of that nonsense in Ottessa Moshfegh's debut collection Homesick for Another World would be futile—as futile as the lives of many, if not all, of the characters in her stories. Things aren't pretty or comforting in this collection, but neither is life. And the delusion with which peo
Jan 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
14 glimpses down dark alleys, Moshfegh-style

Booker nominated Eileen knocked me on my ass (in a good way) last year - earning my favourite read of 2016. I was so enamoured with the no-mercy-for-you way Ottessa Moshfegh writes. When I saw she had a collection of short stories I was chomping at the bit to get at em, despite the early mixed reviews that I was reading on Goodreads.

I wasn't all that surprised to see that the reviews were mixed; the same is true for Eileen, and I can understand wh
Matthew Quann
So, I know that Moshfegh's writing is not going to be for everyone, but DAMN does this lady know how to put together a short story collection. Many of the review quotes on my copy of the book describe physical bodily harm (mild electrocution and blowtorch scorching) as a comparator for reading Moshfegh's writing. It is an odd thing to slap on a cover and expect it to sell copies, but it is oddly appropriate here. These stories pulled me in and then attacked without warning with grotesque imagery ...more
Diane S ☔
Jan 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
Quite frankly these were way more explicit than I was expecting. They may have been well written but I found many of these just plain disgusting and to what end? Let's just say I am not the right reader for these, I finished story two and three, feeling grody, nasty. Not why I read. To ne fair, there were a few stories I did like better and you may not have the same objections I have, so read them for yourselves and see.

ARC from Netgalley.
LeAnne: GeezerMom
Apr 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crazies
Nobody wants a sloppy drunk teaching their kids, but freako little writer Ottessa Moshfegh managed to make me love a teacher like that in no time.

A depressed, hard-drinking Catholic school teacher has a little stab of hope splinter into her world one day, and I had to cheer her on. Does she come to school hung over and nauseated on a regular basis? Yup. But I mostly forgave her. That's what author Moshfegh will do to you.

I loved this little anecdote, plunked into the teacher's tale. While the s
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-lit, read-2018
Another book that has been sitting on the to-read shelf for ages. My only previous experience of Moshfegh was her novel Eileen, which was shortlisted for the 2016 Booker prize and certainly divided opinion with its bleak situation and unsympathetic characters.

This collection of short stories also visits some pretty dark places. The stories are told in the first person by a number of narrators who might naturally be seen as life's losers, who are unafraid to discuss unsavoury subjects. This actua
Jan 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019-read, usa
What a wild ride! Moshfegh's collection contains 14 short stories, all of them glimpses into the lives of alienated characters - which is why the title is fitting. We meet men and women of different backgrounds and ages, all of them apparently feeling different kinds of emptiness, which they try to escape through daydreams, drugs or whatever else might distract them, including cruelty. In fact, there is plenty of psychological cruelty in these texts.

And Moshfegh is bold and effective when it c
If you thought the eponymous antiheroine of Ottessa Moshfegh's Eileen was downtrodden, depraved and desperate... well, let's just say you ain't seen nothing yet.

The characters in Moshfegh's short stories are wretched and invariably lonely, even (perhaps especially) when they are not alone. They haunt shabby apartments and dirty restaurants. They're ugly on either the inside or outside, or both. If they have a job, they probably hate it. If they have a partner, they probably hate them. If the
Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, short-stories
Ottessa Moshfegh has to be one of my favorite writers that I discovered in 2018; My Year of Rest and Relaxation both thrilled and unsettled me, and after I finished that I proceeded to devour her debut novel Eileen. So it was with optimism that I approached her short story collection Homesick for Another World - I was looking forward to more delightfully awful antiheroines and sardonic humor and a heightened awareness of the mundane. Be careful what you wish for, I guess?

What made Eileen's titul
Paul Bryant
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was ok

This book seems to have a bit of a food obsession.

I watched the waitresses move around gingerly with their round black trays of coloured cocktails and small plates of bread and bowls of olives p11

Food, glorious food!
Hot sausage and mustard!
While we're in the mood --
Cold jelly and custard!

He ate a soup made of mutton and spicy peppers. He shovelled the rice into his mouth like a peasant, let it fall all over his lap and onto the floor p31

Peas pudding and saveloys
Jessica Sullivan
This is one of the rare cases where I prefer a writer's short stories to her full-length novel. As much as I enjoyed Eileen (Moshfegh's 2015 novel), I thought that the actual plot paled in comparison to her superb character development and grim, nasty prose.

Homesick for Another World gives Moshfegh the opportunity to make her characters the true focal point, without the expectation of a long, cohesive plot. It's like reading about a dozen Eileens in small doses.

Moshfegh's characters are isolated
Jul 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
How can anybody find the hubris to write short stories knowing that Ottessa Moshfegh's are a thousand times smarter, more transgressive, more alive, and more fun to read than yours? Even the "worst" story in this collection has a bloody, erratically-beating heart that makes all other works of contemporary short fiction look pasty and feeble. The best stories in this collection reassure me that fiction still has the power to be simultaneously relevant and transcendent, ruthless and tender, hilari ...more
If I had to describe this collection in one sentence, it would be: Weird people thinking and doing very weird shit.
Ottessa Moshfegh's debut novel Eileen was one of my favourite books I read last year, and while I think her short story collection goes in a similar direction, it didn’t do what Eileen did nearly as well. Ottessa Moshfegh definitely has a knack for dwelling in the murky, grotesque corners of life and I think there’s a lot of value in putting characters (especially, female char
lark benobi
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017, penguin-press
My grammy used to say something to me that I never understood, and still don't: "A fool returns to his folly like a dog to its vomit." (By the power of the internet I have just now discovered that my grammy was quoting Proverbs.)

Anyway, that is exactly the sentence that came into my head, when I tried to write here about what it was like for me to read these stories.
Judith E
Jun 24, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
These short stories have all the grit of Moshfegh’s novels, but these snippets only make her repetitive darkness purposeless. Rounded up from 2.5.
Book Riot Community
Moshfegh’s collection of stories is a stupendous study in developing irredeemable characters. She seamlessly utilizes the first person point of view, taking on the voice of people on the fringe of likability and decency. Yet, what makes these stories truly refreshing and excellent is that Moshfegh nails the complexities of human flaw. They are brief windows into emotional and psychological spaces, captivating in their social intrigue and private moments of inhibition. As the title suggests, Home ...more
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the things that attracts me most to Moshfegh's work is how grimy, how gross, her characters and settings can be--just like real life! I highly respect how she just GOES THERE. Not every story is like that (The Beach Boy feels like an Alice Munro story) but there's a weird darkness throughout. I loved the tension of A Dark and Winding Road, the uncomfortable humor of No Place For Good People, the angry loneliness of Slumming, and the fucked-up vagueness of The Surrogate. I think I'll prett ...more
There were about 2 stories that stood out more than the others but the rest didn’t do anything for me. The stories felt incredibly repetitive by the time I neared the end and many of them had unsatisfying endings or no ending to really speak of. Given how many people have given this collection 4 of 5 stars I feel like I am either not intelligent enough to get these (if there is some deeper meaning to it all) or I just missed the point.

Quite a few (if not all) of the stories here can be describe
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
[3.75*] In this collection of short stories, the writer drags us through the murky underbelly of humanity. The characters are weird, troubled, detestable and in some cases, downright appalling. There is an undercurrent of low-level strangeness and tension running throughout the book. These are mostly not fully-formed stories, they belong more to the "slice of life" variety but I found them strangely compelling, mostly thanks to the strength of the writing. ...more
David Stringer
Sep 03, 2016 rated it did not like it
These are a collection of fictional short stories written by an award winning and highly rated author! Admittedly the front cover showing an old fashioned American 50's style looking UFO caught my eye and piqued my interest. 'Homesick for Another World'. But this was possibly my mistake, expecting sci-fi style short stories which isn't the case, which is not a problem as I like all genre's, just this is what I was kind of expecting. Instead I walked blindly into short stories about modern day li ...more
Mar 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Not for anyone with a weak stomach :)
I don't really know what to say. Most of the stories had a beginning, and a middle but then just stopped. I am not a huge fan of short stories but I guess I like them to have some sort of ending. I feel each story had one thing in common which was a main character who was lonely or sad or kind of pathetic. Several of them made me wince. Just an ok read for me. I do want to read her novel Eileen! ...more
Conor Ahern
Welp, I've gone and binged on Ottessa Moshfegh (last syllable rhymes with "leg," I found out when googling around for her Twitter handle, which she obviously is too cool to have). I've come away very pleased and this has been evidenced by my eagerness to evangelize for her to everyone I meet. Really, this is kind of a questionable practice, because the books and short stories are pretty weird. I guess I trust anyone who is interested in contemporary literature to at least keep an open mind about ...more
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
"It was disgusting -- just as I'd always hoped it would be."

Very dark. Very funny. Very good.

Her novel EILEEN didn't quite work for me. I appreciated what she was trying to do, but I couldn't really connect with her narrator and her voice. But with this book, it definitely clicked. These stories are savage, raw, disconcerting, and hilarious -- yet also oddly affecting at times. Sort of like Ray Carver crossed with Donald Ray Pollock and filmed by the Coen brothers (or something).

Some of the stor
Ottessa Moshfegh is a very talented writer. Ottessa Moshfegh is obsessed with pimples and pimply people, and people squeezing out the puss from those pimples, which are usually on the faces of her protagonists, but not always. Ottessa Moshfegh likes to offend people. She likes pipi-caca-farty-stinky stuff. ALLLLOTTT. It's a thing of hers. I know this by now because I've also read her second novel, My Year of Rest and Relaxation, which I didn't like very much, but for reasons other than the gross ...more
Apr 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
nothing really happens in any of these stories but I love moshfegh's dark humor and acute observations about the human experience and honestly just wanna hang out with her and bitch

also the fact that so many reviewers were so disgusted by some of the descriptions (lots of body talk) in this book makes me think maybe I'm more of a freak than I realized lol w/e

favorite stories were 'slumming' and 'dancing in the moonlight'
Leo Robertson
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A wild new-ish author appears.

Actual review like next week I guess xD
Jan 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I think this is the only contemporary fiction I've read set in the world in which I live, that is to say, one filled with junk food, Diet Coke, guys who think planet earth is actually the Matrix, people who ride the bus, party drugs, GI problems, halfway homes, Hooters, tabloid magazines and idiotic small talk. These stories are short, muscular, misanthropic, and very, very funny. I love Ottessa Moshfegh b/c she doesn't ask to be liked, I never felt manipulated, there are no kids in this book wh ...more
Feb 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
I can't figure out Ottessa Moshfegh. I loved McGlue, loathed Eileen, and I don't know how I feel about Homesick for Another World. The word I keep coming back to describe this book is perverse. I don't mean that the content is overly sexual or depraved (although I suspect some might find it so). I mean there's something deliberately off about these stories, the way they give the appearance to have been crafted so that they work against reader's expectations. Unlikable characters, flat arcs, abru ...more
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Literary Lunch Mu...: Episode 6 discussion: "Beachboy" by Ottessa Moshfegh 3 2 Dec 14, 2020 02:03PM  

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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 Pri ...more

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