Book Review – Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh

Eileen

Eileen is a 2015 novel by Ottessa Moshfegh, the author’s first full-length book of fiction, which won her the PEN/Hemingway Foundation award in 2016. Set during a bitter winter in 1964, the story follows Eileen Dunlop, a disturbed 24-year-old woman living in a nowhere town in Massachusetts. Between working as a secretary in a youth prison and caring for her callous, alcoholic father at home, Eileen lives a life of misery and self-loathing, fantasizing about leaving her hometown forever. The story follows her life over the course of several days, leading up to the fateful Christmas Eve when her life changes forever.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – November 18, 2020

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Thrawn AlliancesI started reading Thrawn: Alliances by Timothy Zahn on Sunday and have gotten nearly 30% of the way through it so far, which feels like a decent amount of progress for me. I’m enjoying it quite a bit, the story split between two different eras; the Clone War and the Imperial era. It tells of a mission Anakin underwent to planet Batuu to look for a missing Padmé in the former time, with Thrawn meeting him there and offering assistance, and in the latter Thrawn and Darth Vader return to the planet to investigate a disturbance in the Force sensed by the Emperor. Though the story has spent more time in the past with Anakin, I am enjoying the juxtaposition between the two times. It’s fascinating to see both him and Vader represented so firmly in the same story, the differences with how he interacts with Thrawn being the most dynamic.


Recently Finished

EileenOver the weekend I finished reading Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh, and I must say the slow burn really paid off by the end. It spent a lot of meticulous time getting into the head of the character and really understanding how she ticks, which built up well toward her foreshadowed disappearance and the circumstances surrounding it. The climactic chapter had a great deal of suspense to it as well, banking on so much of the groundwork laid leading up to it. There are some pieces I was able to connect on my own before things were revealed, but it was also much darker than I had been anticipating. I meant to have my review up yesterday, but life got a bit in the way of that, as it it wont to do. I should have it up by tomorrow.


Reading Next

MaskeradeWith my final books of the year pretty much set in stone, I have decided I will start reading Maskerade by Terry Pratchett next, the 18th Discworld novel. I haven’t read about the Witches since last December, which doesn’t feel that long ago for some reason, yet there have been three books between them all the same. I’m glad I will be meeting my Discworld quota for the year once this is done. I’m always happy to read about my favourite coven too, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to quickly read through this book during the remainder of November.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – November 11, 2020

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

EileenI’m just over 60% of the way through Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh. I’m still enjoying reading it, but my goodness is this story a slow burn. It is still building up toward some fateful event that has Eileen disappear from her dreary life. There has been more intrigue and new developments than the beginning of the story, so it doesn’t quite feel like the story is dragging its feet, but I’m surprised it’s still yet to happen all the same. It’s actually holding me in a good deal of suspense, as Eileen narrates in past tense and continually drops hints about what’s going to happen next. She does spend a great deal fantasizing about running away, so I really want to know what happens that actually gets her to do it, considering how miserable her life is already.


Recently Finished

Nothing this week!


Reading Next

Thrawn AlliancesMaking a last second decision as I write this, I have decided I will read Thrawn: Alliances by Timothy Zahn next, the second book in the new canon Thrawn trilogy of Star Wars novels. Hopefully I can get it and a third book done fairly quickly this month, so I can keep to my last-minute revision to my reading schedule. This novel has Thrawn tackling a threat to the Empire alongside Darth Vader, intercut with their first encounter during the Clone Wars when Vader was still Anakin Skywalker. I’m excited to see how this pans out. I’ve still got a number of Star Wars comic book volumes to read too, so I’ll probably start chipping away at them soon as well. I mean it this time.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – November 4, 2020

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

EileenIn a last minute decision the other day, I decided to start Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh as my next book off of my to-read list for the year. It’s been more than a bit since I last read one of her books, this being earlier than the previous two, and apparently her first book to really blow up in popularity, if the number of Goodreads ratings is a good indicator. I’m only 18% of the way through so far, and it’s been fairly slow-going, but I am enjoying the way it is building out the main character and her dreary life. As with her other books, she captures a sense of human misery very well, but in a way that feels mundane in a rather haunting way. I eagerly anticipate Eileen’s impending disappearance, which she plans to enact herself.


Recently Finished

Alien Sea of SorrowsOn the morning of Halloween I finished reading Alien: Sea of Sorrows by James A. Moore, and with all said and done I’m really quite fond of it. It did have some glaring continuity issues related the previous book, unfortunately, but I can forgive them. It doesn’t stand out as all that unique, especially after all of the setup is done with, but I became decently attached to a number of the characters and I really enjoyed the glimpse into the way the aliens themselves think and feel. It gave us a peak behind the curtain into their psyche without spoiling too much of their mystique. I also loved the ending and look forward to any possible sequels the future has in store (if one hasn’t come out already). I should have a review up soon.

Adventures into the Unknown Archives Vol. 1I started Adventures into the Unknown Archives Vol. 1 on Halloween night, but I didn’t get it finished until the morning of November 2. This was my last Frighteningly Good Read and goodness was it a strange little trip. Horror comics in 1948 were weird, or at least these were. Not exactly in a good way, though. The pacing was all over the place and I could never really take any of the “horrors” seriously. One such figure called “the Living Ghost” appeared in two stories, depicted as what looked like a cross between the Devil, Dracula, and Frankenstein’s monster. He was an all-powerful demon with command over the undead who got up to such deeds as strangling switch operators and pushing cars off of cliffs. Captivating stuff.


Reading Next

Initially, I was planning to start Moby-Dick by Herman Melville instead of Eileen, but now I’m wondering if I can finish everything on my to-read list except for that book. It’s still a long shot, but we’ll see. It’s the most daunting book and if I can read all the others except that one I’ll be pretty satisfied. Don’t know what will follow Eileen yet.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – 2018/08/01

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

AftermathMonday I finally started reading Aftermath by Chuck Wendig, the first in a trilogy of novels dealing with the fallout of the Galactic Civil War, following the events of Return of the Jedi. I’ve read several of the new Disney Canon novels now, though this is the first one that I’ve read that takes place after the Emperor’s fall. I know a fair amount of what goes on thanks to research I’ve done in the past, but it still feels like mostly uncharted territory for me, which makes it especially appealing. So far it has spent time establishing who I assume will become a cooperative group of characters, so I’m still not quite sure where the story is going. A new character that has stuck out to me is Mister Bones, a B1 battle droid modified to be a lethal bodyguard. It seems to have an erratic personality I will enjoy.


Recently Finished

MyYearOfRestAndRelaxationOver the weekend I finished reading My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh. You can see my complete thoughts by checking out my review here. I expressed some misgivings about the direction of the story last week, but I held onto hope that it would come together in some way. Moshfegh really pulled through in that respect. The more I think about it the more jarring the shift felt in direction felt, though it was a change toward the positive and I was more invested while reading the novel at that point than I had been prior.

Shattered EmpireI also read Shattered Empire by Greg Rucka et al, which is the last limited series Star Wars comic book volume I had to read in my little collection. I’m all caught up on the comic book front now, though the newest volume of the main series is dropping next week. The story was all right, though a little brief. It also deals with the aftermath of Return of the Jedi too, following Shara Bey and Kes Dameron, Rebel Alliance pilot and soldier respectively and the parents of Poe Dameron from the sequel trilogy. The book had some good nuggets of lore in it and served as a good primer for Aftermath.


Reading Next

Honestly, I’m drawing a blank as far as this is concerned right now. There’s nothing else new and pressing coming out right now for me, so I’m going to turn my scrap of a list over in my mind for a bit and see what appeals to me. I really want to start Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett, but I want a bit of a buffer between Discworld books since it’s a long-haul series for me.

Until next time, thank you for reading!

Book Review – My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

MyYearOfRestAndRelaxation

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 Street boyfriend treats her, or her sadomasochistic relationship with her best friend, Reva. It’s the year 2000 in a city aglitter with wealth and possibility; what could be so terribly wrong?

My Year of Rest and Relaxation (2018) is the latest novel by Ottessa Moshfegh. The story follows an unnamed narrator who is fed up with her life such as it is. Both her parents are dead, her recurring ex-boyfriend is a high-class dirtbag, and her only consistent relationship with her friend Reva is toxic. Life offers nothing of meaning or value to her. Everything is a superficial façade. In an attempt to remedy her existential dilemma, with the help of a terrible psychiatrist, the narrator embarks upon a journey of self-renewal. She begins taking a myriad of sleep aids and medication to keep herself sedated in her apartment as often as possible for an entire year, believing that by the end of this time she will emerge restored in mind and spirit.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2018/07/25

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

MyYearOfRestAndRelaxationI’m still only about halfway through reading My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh. Admittedly, I’ve fallen a little short of giving myself adequate reading time to finish it up. It’s not particularly long, so I should have been done with it by now. On the other hand, it isn’t grabbing me as much as I’d like. Moshfegh’s writing is captivating while I’m reading it, but I find I have to work harder than normal to recall what has happened thus far in the novel. There are some notable hitches in the narrator’s plan that are making things interesting, and aspects of her past do stick out well, I’m just still wondering there will be any more of a distinct sense of direction.

Recently Finished

Obi-Wan & AnakinThe only book I’ve finished in the last week is Star Wars: Obi-Wan & Anakin by Charles Soule et al. It’s one of the numerous limited series that Marvel has put out lately for Star Wars, usually focused on specific characters. The only other one I’ve read was for Princess Leia. I’m glad I read this book in particular, because its story takes place at a time not really covered in Star Wars media, namely the 10-year period between The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. Anakin is still fairly young, so while he can be a little unruly he doesn’t yet have his rebellious streak. I really liked that the story zeroed in on the conflict of a specific planet as well, namely one that has technology but is otherwise cut off from the rest of the Galaxy. There’s always such focus on things at a Galactic level, I enjoy the emphasis on a single planet, which can be rich enough with history and context all on its own.

Reading Next

ZeldaEncyclopediaI’m still intending to start reading Aftermath by Chuck Wendig next, which I may have started by next week. I’m gonna make a push to finish up things in the next few days and over the weekend. Other than that I want to read Shattered Empire, which is another Star Wars limited series book that I want to check out, this one specifically because it takes place after Return of the Jedi. I meant to starting reading The Legend of Zelda: Encyclopedia what feels like ages ago, but for some reason I just can’t motivate myself to pick it up. I don’t know if I’ll still actually start it or not, but I’ll be sure to let you know here when and if I do.

Until next time, thank you for reading!

WWW Wednesday – 2018/07/18

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

MyYearOfRestAndRelaxationI’ve been reading My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh, though I’m only just getting started with it. My reading plans took a slight detour. Though I’m still within the first chapter, I have read until the first section break. It was a bit of a whirlwind so far, giving a lot of information on the narrator’s daily life such as it is and her dysfunctional friendship with a college friend named Reza. The style is rather fast paced, though I haven’t exactly gotten a hold on what the story is about yet. I’m a little wary with how much I’m being told rather than shown, but that may just be Meshfegh setting the scene. I’m still optimistic.

Recently Finished

MovingPicturesOver the weekend I finished reading Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett! Please check out my review here. I enjoyed it well enough, though it went pretty much as I expected it to. Though it hasn’t been the case every time, there is a general skeleton of a story that Pratchett seems to use when he has more of an idea he wants to explore than a specific story he wants to tell. Gaspode the Wonder Dog did not entirely take over the role of protagonist, but he was one of the most complex characters in the story, torn between his resentment for how humans mistreat him and his innate nature as a dog (a Good Boy). I was thrilled to learn that he becomes a recurring character throughout the series.

TheAshesofJedhaI also read The Ashes of Jedha by Kieron Gillen et al, which has caught me up on all of the available volumes of the current Star Wars series by Marvel. This is the first book with Gillen taking over from Jason Aaron and the difference was a little staggering. Maybe I just prefer something about Gillen’s style, but I was vastly more intrigued with the story here than I was with most of Aaron’s stuff. There was some weird stuff with the Force in it, which is always a win for me, but the book was mostly about a Rebel operation yet it still had me hooked. It bodes well for me for the series going forward.

NecronomiconThough this is not a completed book, I also read “The Shadow over Innsmouth” by H. P. Lovecraft from my massive tome of his stories. I’ve been playing the video game Bloodborne recently and a friend of mine told me to read this—basically a homework assignment—before I begin a specific portion of the game. I enjoyed it quite a bit, though I had absorbed more about it through osmosis than I realized, since much of it didn’t surprise me. I will likely have a review up of it soon.

Reading Next

AftermathI know I gab a lot about Star Wars, but I’ve got a list with five of the newer novels still on it that I want to get to this year. So, it’s high time I started the first Aftermath novel by Chuck Wendig, which is following the Galactic Civil war after the deaths of the Emperor and Darth Vader. I’ve been wanting to read this trilogy for a long time and I’m not putting it off any longer (once I’ve finished up with Moshfegh’s novel).

Until next time, thanks for reading!

WWW Wednesday – 2018/07/04

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

MovingPicturesOver the weekend I finally started reading Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett, the tenth Discworld novel. This is another book in the series that follows a new cast of characters, parodying a specific concept in its own Discworld-y fashion. This time around it’s Hollywood (“Holy Wood”) and the film industry, which has made its way onto the Disc in a roundabout, fantasy sort of way. The protagonist is not particularly remarkable so far, but I really like the notion that something Lovecraftian is at play giving people “Holy Wood dreams.”

Recently Finished

JourneyToTheCentreOfTheEarthSaturday morning I finished reading Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne. Check out my full review here. I liked it well enough, but it ended rather abruptly when the real sense of adventure and discovery had finally started taking off for me. There’s only so long that characters can wander deep underground, perilous though that can be, before it becomes played out. I can respect the book for trying to be as scientific as possible in dealing with the seemingly impossible things the characters do come across, but I wanted them to more directly confront the more startling discoveries they did make.

StarWarsOutAmongTheStarsI also read Out Among the Stars by Jason Aaron et al, the sixth volume in the current Marvel Comics run of Star Wars. I rather liked this volume, despite its focus on the core crew of the Millennium Falcon (which hasn’t been stellar in this series as of late). Each issue of this volume was dedicated to different pairings of characters, telling brief self-contained stories that had some well done little character moments. One chapter followed the SCAR squadron of elite Stormtroopers, a perspective I especially enjoyed in this book. The RD-D2 story was a little silly. I have trouble with the little astromech running circles around supposedly trained soldiers, but it’s not too big of a bugbear for me.

Reading Next

MyYearOfRestAndRelaxationOttessa Moshfegh’s new novel My Year of Rest and Relaxation should be arriving any day now, so I’ve decided to get the jump on that net while it’s newly published. The only thing I know about it in a roundabout sort of way is that it deals with feelings of apathy and depression in an otherwise privileged life. I really enjoyed her last book, so I’m really looking forward to checking this one out.

Until next time, thanks for reading!