I have had the most terrible reading drought recently. Some of you will know what I mean, those periods when you are just Teflon for the printed word. Nothing sticks. Nothing goes in. The drought was broken by a Marian Keyes book, called The Break, which I loved and realised why she is so incredibly popular. I am now reading The Woman Who Stole My Life, which I’m sure a lot of you have read. I just adore the character of Jeffrey, the vile teenager.
Anyway this is not about Marian Keyes, but Ottessa Moshfegh. You may have read Eileen, her Booker-shortlisted book (I have just started it) but her new book My Year of Rest and Relaxation is the one I have read and am recommending to you.
I don’t think you need my thoughts about it, it’s just a very good book. I mean, (sorry, wait, you are going to get a thought now): I feel like the ending falls a little flat but in fact, really who cares. Flat endings often make it easier to let go of a book; a great ending to a novel – Richard’s final dream about Henry in The Secret History for example – can turn the book into a ghost that haunts you forever.
Anyway My Year of Rest and Relaxation is about a smart young heiress who decides to lock herself in her smart Upper East Side flat for a year in a sort of on-and-off induced sleep, aided by medication from a batty psychiatrist. I am so totally obsessed by sleep at the moment that the fetishising of it here is genuinely sort of pornographic.
But when a book is good, it’s just good. You don’t need to know what it’s about. Having said that, I always need prior warning if a book is going to be about torture or anything particularly bad happening to children. Yeah, yeah whatever, I know – I’m pathetic. But there’s nothing bad or scary here. It’s all good, well-expressed, thought-provoking. Mostly provoking thoughts in me like “Why have I not written a novel yet?” But that’s my problem.