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My Year of Rest and Relaxation

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  90,670 ratings  ·  10,611 reviews
A shocking, hilarious and strangely tender novel about a young woman’s experiment in narcotic hibernation, aided and abetted by one of the worst psychiatrists in the annals of literature. Our narrator has many of the advantages of life, on the surface. Young, thin, pretty, a recent Columbia graduate, she lives in an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan paid for, l ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published July 12th 2018 by Jonathan Cape (first published July 10th 2018)
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Margriet It's Portrait of a Young Woman in White by Circle of Jacques-Louis David ! It's on view in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.…moreIt's Portrait of a Young Woman in White by Circle of Jacques-Louis David ! It's on view in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  90,670 ratings  ·  10,611 reviews

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Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: brave readers
Well, this one went down nice n' easy, like I imagine an Ambien would.

ADMISSION: I'm a little bit in love with this author, this woman who is often maligned for being gross and writing about nasty female characters, for being deliberately provocative relying solely on shock value, and oh don't forget, she's just plain unlikable. All of which makes me say: "SO WHAT?"

Ottessa Moshfegh does write about icky things people do, magnifies the cruel dark bits of life we would rather gloss over. If you ne
Jul 12, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tatiana by: Every professional publication, plus Lena Dunham (surprise?)
Shelves: tres-annoying, 2018
Listening to this book was like watching Girls.

Occasionally funny and occasionally insightful in a limited, WASP-y kind of way, but mostly ridiculous, privileged, and, ultimately, pointless.
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
I really really enjoyed this one. I feel like Ottessa Moshfegh let herself loose with a bizarre idea and it totally payed off. I'm still not sure if I liked the main character and I love that. Overall very much recommend! ...more
Jul 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this was....something else.

this will probably always remain one of the oddest books i’ve ever read. on the surface it is mostly ridiculous, the narrator deciding to just take a year in the hopes that it will transform her outlook on life. but underneath all that, it is kind of a tender and vulnerable look at a woman who is struggling to deal with her grief and depression and feels that drastic measures are the only way get through.

my only complaint is that things dragged throughout the middle
Sep 11, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very accurate depiction of depression—you feel the main character’s monotony, the lethargy, the pointlessness of it all. As someone who copes with depression by sleeping an excessive amount, I understood where she was coming from, and picked up this book out of curiosity to see what happens when someone submits to that nihilistic desire to not associate with the world anymore. The relationship between the main character and her best friend provided an interesting look at both sides of ...more
Felice Laverne
I was finally doing something that really mattered. Sleep felt productive. Something was getting sorted out. I knew in my heart—this was, perhaps, the only thing my heart knew back then—that when I’d slept enough, I’d be okay. I’d be renewed, reborn. I would be a whole new person, every one of my cells regenerated enough times that the old cells were just distant, foggy memories. My past life would be but a dream, and I could start over without regrets, bolstered by the bliss and serenity that I ...more
Elyse  Walters
Jul 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook by Julia Whelan

Questions I had were:
“Are there really psychiatrists this bad?”
and who has friends like Reva?
My biggest question of all:
how would this funny ( ok, ‘tragic’-comic), but still laughable to me - fascinating fantasy- possibly end for our ‘girl-in-hibernation’? I was curious as hell.
I enjoyed the journey to the end too - the dialogue- the absurdity!
I’m thankful I never felt anxious or addicted to binge read this one. My breaks - were powerful. I was often still eng
Samantha Colwell
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review from Hello Yellow Room.

Someone standing in line with Otessa Moshfegh at a Starbucks must have said aloud “I’m not sure there’s a novel that sufficiently embraces apathy brought about by woeful depression,” and Otessa said, “Hold my latte.” If that’s not a factual depiction of how this novel was conceived, then my new favorite author Ms. Moshfegh herself can come correct me. I wouldn’t mind.

My Year of Rest and Relaxation is a unique twist on the classic metamorphosis tale. Written to tak
Cara M
May 10, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
“Oh, sleep. Nothing else could ever bring me such pleasure, such freedom, the power to feel and move and think and imagine, safe from the miseries of my waking consciousness.”

I love to sleep! There’s nothing much better than a deliciously deep slumber without interruption. It’s also one of the most difficult of leisurely activities to come by. Perhaps that’s why when I lay my head down each night I hope that this will indeed be it – the most perfect sleep of all. I can’t tell you when I last exp
j e w e l s
Aug 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition


My repeated claim to love unlikable characters is put to the test in this darkly irreverent, strange fable. I’m sticking to my claim. I do love most of the unlikable people in My Year of Rest and Relaxation. Humor goes a long way when writing unpleasant characters! The author is sophisticated and brilliant when it comes to injecting absurdly wry observations on both the glitter and the grime of New York City.

Contrary to the lovely 18th century painting of a leisurely youn
Rating 4.5 stars

I was a fan of Ottessa Moshfegh after reading her book Eileen. I really enjoyed the read and could not wait for more from this author. But her next book came out and to be honest, I didn't like it. In fact, I didn't finish it. (Why - see my #3 reason below) So when I saw she had a new book coming out, I was excited but a bit worried. Would the 'third times the charm' fate indicate if I would read more of her books or just say she's not for me. I'm so happy to say I really enjoyed
One of the things I enjoy about reading fiction is getting to see the challenges authors set themselves when they create their plots and characters. Otessa Moshfegh rewarded me well on that score. She has written this book using a limited number of characters; she makes it all happen more or less in one location; and she has reduced plot twists to almost zero. But the most impressive aspect of her challenge is the timeframe she uses. In comparison to the scarcity of the rest of the elements, the ...more
Hilarious and sad at the same time, weir combination isn't it... In the beginning, reading about a young lady, beautiful though in a weird mindset, only wanting to sleep and achieving this with a cocktail of all sorts of sleeping/calming medicine, I thought, this is not for me. However, this book is so deliciously weird you keep reading and wondering what is gonna happen next.... and the psychiatrist/therapeut she is seeing.... weird to say the least. Again, hilarious scenes. So I'm hooked and m ...more
Sep 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the middle of my copy of My Year of Rest and Relaxation I found a receipt for a bar tab totaling $213.00. Understandable. But had the receipt been dated 6/26/20 instead of 6/26/19, I would have said it makes perfect sense. Although it wouldn’t have been a bar tab (the bars were closed, remember—let’s do our best to forget the horror of it) but rather a receipt from the corner liquor store. Had we but known—My Year of Rest and Relaxation might have become a sort of how-to guide to getting thro ...more
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 5-stars
Sleep as a tonic for grief

A mesmerizing peek into the self-medication of a young woman who wants to sleep for a year and wake up rejuvenated and ready to live. She only has one friend and has been let go from her job. At times the conversations she has with her best friend, Reva, are absurd and others sad, she has just lost her parents and an older, very selfish lover, so she wants to do a rewind, like on her beloved VCR, this takes places in 2000 until 2001.
Gumble's Yard
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018
I was “on drugs.” I took upwards of a dozen pills a day. But it was all very regulated, I thought. It was all totally above board. I just wanted to sleep all the time. I had a plan. “I’m not a junkie or something,” I said defensively. “I’m taking some time off. This is my year of rest and relaxation.”

This novel is by Ottessa Mosfegh – author of Eileen, my views of which were neatly captured by the Sunday Times recent review of this book: Billed as a thriller, Eileen was more of a mystery, a
Barry Pierce
Ottessa Moshfegh seems to be completely incapable of producing works that aren't masterpieces. ...more
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was bizarre and wonderful. I absolutely love Moshfegh's weirdness. She doesn't shy away from the things people usually hesitate to discuss, and she's fine with making her main characters off-putting. It's so refreshing to read. And that last page really took it all home. Like her other works, this novel will not be for everyone; but I think the people who like it will really like it. I sure did. ...more
Meredith B.  (readingwithmere)
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
4 Stars!

I am overcome by awe, not because she looks like Reva, and I think it's her, almost exactly her, and not because Reva and I had been friends, or because I'll never see her again, but because she is beautiful. There she is, a human being, diving into the unknown, and she is wide awake

This was my first Otessa Moshfegh novel and it lived up to the hype. The cover threw me off as it almost has a historical fiction look to it but I will tell you that this is not anywhere near historical f
Jul 05, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a book narrated by a very depressed and beautiful young woman who has graduated from college, works in an art gallery, and lives in New York, the year is 2001. She was recently lost both her parents, her father to cancer, and her mother close afterward from pills/alcohol. She also has an awful relationship with a man who is on again off again.
So... she decided she needs a year of rest, to just sleep for a year, consistently. She finds a psychiatrist who really is a horrible doctor, a pil
Nenia ✨️ Socially Awkward Trash Panda ✨️ Campbell

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The reviews of this book are hilarious. Half of them appear to be taking this book at face value, and the other half seem to be trying to come across as if they are op-eds for The New Yorker. MY YEAR OF REST AND RELAXATION is a polarizing book, and whether you'll like it depends on how you feel about reading depressing books with unlikable characters. If you want escapism and "soft" and "gentle" reads and joy, this book is going to go do
Sep 30, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A hilarious, scathing account of lacking purpose and (not) dealing with depression.
I loved the start but ended up a tad disappointed with the conclusion.

While reading this book I constantly was reminded of this very short clip from an Avicii music video, where a psychiatrist responds to existential doubts with: "Let me get you some more pills"

I was finally doing something that really mattered. Sleep felt productive. Something was getting sorted out. I kne
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: usa, 2018-read
I love how Ottessa Moshfegh embraces female characters who at first might seem unlikeable - she gives them a degree of psychological depth that makes it hard not to feel with them. Gradually, Moshfegh peels away the layers of defensive and outright weird behavior and the superficial self-explanations in order to expose what really drives these women - and just like Eileen, the unnamed protagonist of "My Year of Rest and Relexation" is struggling with trauma.

The young woman telling the story is
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2020
★★★★ /5

This was an interesting read. I haven't read a book with this particular plot and story, but of course, ideas were universal and easy to understand. I really liked a simplistic writing style, everything was sed clearly. The main character motivations, her back story, and train of thoughts were interesting to follow.
Tom Quinn
May 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Tragically I'm not an undergrad anymore, so I will never be to be asked to compare and contrast this book with "The Yellow Wallpaper" in 2500 words or so. But still, Moshfegh's learnéd tone makes me yearn to put on the old critical reading hat and have a go. I am... compelled. Here, let me try and show you:
Reva had an interesting method of mixing her drinks. After each sip of Diet Mountain Dew, she'd pour a little Jose Cuervo into the can to take up the space her sip had displaced, so that by th
The unnamed narrator of My Year of Rest and Relaxation may be obscenely privileged, but her life is bleak. She was neglected by her parents (both now dead), maintains an on-off relationship with a ‘reoccurring ex-boyfriend’ who treats her like shit, and has one friend, Reva, whom she despises. ‘I was plagued by misery, anxiety, a wish to escape the prison of my mind and body.’ In 2000, she begins a year-long process of ‘hibernating’ – staying inside her apartment in a narcotic haze, sleeping as ...more
For the first time on GR I decided not to give any rating but try to review the book only. I never thought to read it, but due to the insistence of the my oldest daughter, who giggling and listing all the interesting elements found in the reading, she thought well to hide the Kindle and a book that I gave priority in reading, to entice me to read the coveted in question....
For once she is not mistaken 😅😅, let’s say quickly, that the content is equal to absolute zero, the narrative revolves aroun
2.5 rounded down

First off -- I think I should put out there that I am someone who does not *get* Moshfegh's fiction. I understand from reading a number of reviews that many find her books to be brilliant... I am not one of those people.

I should add that this is a lot better than Homesick for Another World, which I absolutely hated. My Year of Rest and Relaxation is very readable, amusing and shocking in equal measure... but I finished wondering what the point of it all is.

If you've read any revi
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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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“Sleep felt productive. Something was getting sorted out. I knew in my heart—this was, perhaps, the only thing my heart knew back then—that when I'd slept enough, I'd be okay. I'd be renewed, reborn. I would be a whole new person, every one of my cells regenerated enough times that the old cells were just distant, foggy memories. My past life would be but a dream, and I could start over without regrets, bolstered by the bliss and serenity that I would have accumulated in my year of rest and relaxation.” 93 likes
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