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My Year of Rest and Relaxation

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  131,428 ratings  ·  16,384 reviews
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 Stree ...more
Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Published July 10th 2018 by Penguin Press
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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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Average rating 3.71  · 
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 ·  131,428 ratings  ·  16,384 reviews

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Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 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
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
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
Not to sound like I believe myself to the center of the universe, but...I am and I do and this book was probably written for me.

I, like our protagonist, am a 24-year-old blonde with exactly one toxic but adoring friend who daydreams about the idea of sleeping away a week / month / year and waking up refreshed and renewed and in a slightly different, shinier life.

In college, the aforementioned singular friend and I lived through finals and midterms and forty-hour workweeks combined with internsh
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.
Dec 06, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
TL;DR: I fucking hated this book. My Year of Rest and Relaxation could have been good. I was expecting something like You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine: a weird, disturbing book about a young woman dissociating from modern society. Instead I got 300 pages of vapid bullshit that seems unreasonably proud of itself. If you're here looking for recommendations, I'd give this one a pass and read the Kleeman instead.

Another entry in the baffling 'women can be assholes too!' movement, My Year of Rest a
Elyse  Walters
Jul 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 Martin
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
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
Aug 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“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
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
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
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
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 - Golden Reviewer
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
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
Jun 12, 2021 rated it did not like it
Mild spoilers ahead. Also, this is a rant review.

This is the stupidest book I've ever hated. It's been a while since a book filled me with unbridled rage. Perhaps I was due since my last loathsome read was almost a year ago with Wonder Boys which I referred to as well-written swill. Unfortunately, My Year of Rest and Relaxation couldn't even be arsed to give me beautiful prose.

The story starts with a spoiled white rich bitch who is somehow unhappy. Because as we all know kids, happiness comes f
Sophia Judice
A solid 3/5. This put me in a terrible slump and took me 3 weeks to finish (for reference, it normally takes me about a day to finish a book this size). I think that the beginning and end have loads of meaningful anecdotes about life and the female experience. It reminded me a lot of The Bell Jar but without the racism. I do have to say that I love reading about totally unlikable and unhinged women, but this book was not that enjoyable of a read for me; however, I believe that is the point. It i ...more
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ 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
Joe Valdez
Jan 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction-general
The Year of Women--in which I'm devoting 2021 to reading female authors only--continues with My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh. Published in 2018, this novel was my introduction to the author and like a lot of my favorites, Moshfegh writes with a rock star magnetism that made me feel as if in an crowded theater, she was speaking directly to me. How she pulled this off through a narrator who's an Amber Valletta lookalike New Yorker in her twenties subsisting on psychopharmaceutic ...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
Nora Kovacs
Apr 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Ottessa Moshfegh is one of the most talented writers I have come across in recent years. She is a master of language, observation and is deeply in touch with the universal misery of existence that binds us all. (Also, my husband said her name looks like a sneeze.😆)
I already ordered every book I could find from her.
Lori - on hiatus
Jan 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, kindle
"The ironic and the pathetic are beautifully intertwined in Flaubert’s novel."

I'm re-reading Madame Bovary for the fourth or sixth time, only this time along with Nabokov's lecture on it, which I've read several times as well but never together. The former is one of my all-time favorite books, the latter one of my two favorite authors, the other being Proust whom Nabokov invoked in his lecture on Madame.

This review has taken me over a month to write because the book took me deep places I never
Meredith B.  (readingwithmere)
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
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-read, usa
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
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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.” 129 likes
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