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My Year of Rest and Relaxation

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  39,853 ratings  ·  5,313 reviews
This is a novel about a young woman's efforts to duck the ills of the world by embarking on an extended hibernation with the help of one of the worst psychiatrists in the annals of literature and the battery of medicines she prescribes.

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,
...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published June 25th 2019 by Penguin Books (first published July 10th 2018)
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Popular Answered Questions
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.
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Judy Lindow In the definition of "allegory" - a story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one -…moreIn the definition of "allegory" - a story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one - something being "hidden" is significant. The main character attempts to find a new reality by consuming too much, mindlessly (drugs, products, media, sex, etc). Nothing hidden about this in the story. I think however, in this part of the story she's trying to cover, hide, ignore, or run away from what she's afraid of - she appears to be running from something - and we get glimpse: abusive relationships, grief, and more - but I think what we're seeing is her running from what's hidden and it's the unknown. Wanting not to face anymore of her life if it continues to bring her suffering. And so even the numbing is a strategy to ignore the 'unknown'. I think all these addictive, numbing strategies are just that -- when I lost both parents and became an orphan I started doing crossword puzzles, consuming more, eating more, and reading fiction full time. Haha. So although it's commentary on all the tools we have at our disposal when when we run from feelings and fear of the unknown - I don't know it's some huge political message.(less)

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3.68  · 
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 ·  39,853 ratings  ·  5,313 reviews


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Robin
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
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Tatiana
Jul 12, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tatiana by: Every professional publication, plus Lena Dunham (surprise?)
Shelves: 2018, tres-annoying
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.
Navidad Thélamour
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  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
Audiobook...read 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
...more
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
...more
PorshaJo
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
...more
j e w e l s
Aug 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
FIVE SARDONIC STARS

MGRK4899

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 young
...more
Fionnuala
Jul 02, 2019 added it
Shelves: bookgroup
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
Beverly
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-stars, favorites
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.
Annet
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
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.
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 fic
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Gumble's Yard
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 m
...more
Karen
Jul 05, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Maxwell
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
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.
Barry Pierce
Ottessa Moshfegh seems to be completely incapable of producing works that aren't masterpieces.
Blair
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
Michelle
When I received an ARC of My Year of Rest and Relaxation in the mail I was beyond ecstatic. I loved Ottessa Moshfegh's debut, Eileen, and was really looking forward to this one. I can tell you that if you were not a fan of Eileen then you will probably not like this book either. Even I found this one a tough pill to swallow.

Our unnamed narrator is a beautiful, smart, wealthy New York twenty-something that has decided that she wants to take the next year of her life off by taking a concoction of
...more
Meike
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Sarah
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
...more
Vanessa
Mar 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A dark portrayal of a woman who essentially decides to detach from the outside world to hibernate and sleep away a whole year. She is in major denial of past traumas causing her to delve into toxic and dangerous levels of pill popping, the more she takes the more she needs, counteracting her ability to sleep thus ensuing a dangerous cycle of consuming dangerous levels of whatever her psychiatrist Dr. Tuttle can prescribe her, her psychiatrist who has no business being one is just as nutty as our ...more
emily
Jun 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
one of the most engrossing and fascinating stories i've ever read. the last page + line just kicked me in the stomach
Kelly
I could barely stand this book. And that’s a mark of it’s great skill at rendering its subject, a number of flaws, and an extremely dissatisfying, clunky conclusion.

The risk of writing something about a truly awful, privileged person’s severe, mind numbing, repetitive depression is that, you know, that’s what it will feel like. The writing feels heavy, and gets heavier. It’s effective, it makes you a part of the depression in a clever way, especially if you read large chunks at once, which show
...more
Nikki (Saturday Nite Reader)
What did I just listen to? If it weren’t for narrator Julia Whelan I probably would have canned this one. (She was brilliant!) Well actually who am I kidding, no I wouldn’t. It was a book club pick and I don’t like showing up to book club unprepared so I would have suffered reading this one (thank goodness it was an audio instead).

At the start of it I was confused: I wasn’t sure if I loved it or hated it. I was intrigued, it was entertaining to start, and there is no doubt that the author’s quic
...more
KC
Ugh This book has received numerous accolades, which is why I picked it up, but I am not even sure what the point of this story is. Pre 9/11 and our main character, a Columbia graduate, decides to hibernate from society for an entire year by popping pills, power sleeping, and watching VHS movies on her tape player. We meet her Dr. who prescribes her any pills she wants, her on/off again dick of a "boyfriend", and her "best friend", whom she despises. Blah blah blah. A true waste of time...
Roman Clodia
May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a bold, original, uncompromising writer Moshfegh is! If I fell in love with her work with Eileen, then this book has sealed my adoration.

On the surface, this is a kind of non-story: ‘I had started “hibernating” as best I could in mid-June of 2000. I was twenty-four years old.’ The unnamed narrator self-medicates with the help of a crazy-mad psychiatrist (‘there was no shortage of psychiatrists in New York City, but finding one as irresponsible and weird as Dr Tuttle would be a challenge’)
...more
Nenia ✨ Literary Garbage Can ✨ 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 down
...more
Carol (Bookaria)
It's the year 2000. Our main character is a young and beautiful woman who has had her share of disappointments in life and decides to spend most of her time sleeping and watching movies on her VHS.

To achieve this, she starts visiting a psychiatrist she found on the yellow pages. This terrible doctor provides her with all the prescription narcotics she wants, and she begins to consume medications like an unsupervised kid eating halloween candy. Oh, and she doesn't has to worry about money, she's
...more
carol.
I'll be honest; when I saw this title, I was hoping for one of those autobiographical books where the author walks away from her life for a year. Not that I'm tempted to do that or anything.

I think my year of rest and relaxation would involve a cottage, near a saltwater beach, with internet access and less people than one usually finds near the ocean. Maybe being a lab grunt for a nice marine biology researcher. I would find that very relaxing. If you hear of any openings, let me know.
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2,563 followers
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
“Rejection, I have found, can be the only antidote to delusion” 49 likes
“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.” 42 likes
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