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My Year of Rest and Relaxation

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  220,809 ratings  ·  30,332 reviews
From one of our boldest, most celebrated new literary voices, 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 Colu
Paperback, 289 pages
Published June 25th 2019 by Penguin Books (first published July 10th 2018)
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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 - s…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 glimpses of: 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)
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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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
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
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
Sep 11, 2019 rated it liked it
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
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
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.
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
Dec 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
validated my existence as a lazy whore
chan ☆
Feb 25, 2022 rated it did not like it
it's rare to enjoy both the writing and the concept for a book and then totally hate the execution.

but i don't think that a self obsessed and sort of traumatized WASP giving catty commentary juxtaposed with the idea of sleeping for a year really worked. i certainly wanted it to, but this left me very empty. i think i'm too dumb to really "get" this kind of intellectualism.
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
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.
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
Elyse  Walters
Jul 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
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
Samantha Martin
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
faith adora
Jan 28, 2022 rated it really liked it
“I did crave attention, but I refused to humiliate myself by asking for it.”

I too would like to sleep for a year.
“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
Barry Pierce
Ottessa Moshfegh seems to be completely incapable of producing works that aren't masterpieces. ...more
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
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
persephone ☾
this bitch really said let me sleep for one year because wtf is my life and i ate that shit up 😩

i love books with unlikeable characters, and this book served to say the least :) There is absolutely no one to root for, like no one and still this book managed to keep me hooked until the last page.
Sep 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
this is the funniest book i have ever read
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
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
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
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
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 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.
Mar 23, 2022 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2022
This book is horrible. I am not one of those people who says "I just don't get it." I understand exactly what this book is trying to do. This books has no deep message nor is it a stroke of genius from its writer. It is a book about grief and depression, and how it brings out the worst in us, and how we want to escape from the world around us, but life is worth living and blah blah blah. Not only do I not like this book I also don't respect it. I don't respect its writing, its message , its plot ...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
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Ottessa Moshfegh is a fiction writer from New England. Eileen, her first novel, was shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Man Booker Prize, and won the PEN/Hemingway Award for debut fiction. My Year of Rest and Relaxation and Death in Her Hands, her second and third novels, were New York Times bestsellers. She is also the author of the short story collection Homesick for A ...more

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