Eileen – Ottessa Moshfegh

eileen“The Christmas season offers little cheer for Eileen Dunlop, an unassuming yet disturbed young woman trapped between her role as her alcoholic father’s caretaker…and a day job as a secretary at the boys’ prison… When the bright, beautiful, and cheery Rebecca Saint John arrives on the scene as the new counselor at Moorehead, Eileen is enchanted and proves unable to resist what appears at first to be a miraculously budding friendship. In a Hitchcockian twist, her affection for Rebecca ultimately pulls her into complicity in a crime that surpasses her wildest imaginings.”

It was coming into winter and I felt like something a little dark and this novel had some good reviews/was shortlisted. While the impending sense of doom kept me persisting through the quotidian horrors of Eileen’s life, when calamity finally struck, I had to work at suspending my disbelief as it fizzled to an end. Moshfegh’s protagonist is perverse, disturbed and melodramatic – an excellent character study, but still, a bit claustrophobic. This is a grotesque exploration of the ugliness within humanity, and looks at dysfunctional family dynamics, entrapment and escape, loneliness and belonging, and moral relativism. Only –
3stars
MA

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