35 stars If you didn t like The Girl on the Train you certainly won t like this If you e interested in characters over plot however this is another solid entry into a excellent year for psychological thrillers Eileen is one of the most pitiable and despicable characters I ve ever ead she is not only neurotically self absorbed and insecure and suffering from severe sexual and emotional epression but she s also prone to feverishly obsessive behavior She lewdly fixates on a muscular guard who works at the prison where she s employed she casually wonders how much time someone would serve to be with a young boy who s incarcerated and she is all too eager to succumb to the charms of a beautiful new female counselor who is intent upon befriending her It s uncomfortable and often disgusting being in Eileen s head but it s absolutely iveting as well I think it s so interesting to ead these portrayals of unlikeable and loathsome women we come in all shapes and Eileen is nothing like the upbeat sassy song of old C mon Eileen Oh contraire She is mind shackled and deeply disturbed Reminiscing Eileen tells her story that begins from her early 20 s in a town she efers to as X ville in a nonchalant way telling it like it is The self loathing the daydreaming of love and escape the kleptomania the lack of hygiene A misfit haunted by self image issues No doubt a esult from her upbringing and her emotionally distant drunk dad and her dead mother who sounds like she should have gone to the grave sooner But just when life is dull boring and lifeless in steps a coworker she uickly becomes enamoured with A friend who alters her life in a twisted and dark eality An engaging ead This was a very different story Shocking at times yep I think my jaw dropped and at times my skin crawled with disgust Moshfegh has created some unlikeable What if she could smell that I was menstruating and that I hadn t washed What if she smelled it clear as day but didn t say anything How then would I know whether or not she d smelled it 5 epugnant vile fierce exhibitionistic stars 10th Favorite Read of 2016 I have never been so eluctant to give a book 5 stars This is a book that directs all its murky gaze on the darkness that lurks within women Ms Moshfegh slowly and epetitively dissects Eileen into all her gory parts from the darkness of her sexual fantasies that include post pubescent boys unattainable women to visualizing her coworkers engaging in sex that both disgusts and titilates her Eileen s psyche is laid bare and we see ugliness neediness pettiness the most humble of narcissism that makes others ebuke her diminish and humiliate her Her body is also scrutinized from her breasts to vaginal lips to bony hips to the freuency of her bowel movements and her lack of feminine hygiene Eileen is deprived ugly hurt and this comes out in a myriad of ways We are disgusted by Eileen and because of this we ecoil but like the disgusting voyeurs that we are move in closer and look through our fingers at her while we pinch our noses and hold our breath Eileen is too weak to be an anti hero and not evil enough to be a villain She is the epository of all the misogyny we experience as a society and the opposite side of the coin is Rebecca who will not enter this conversation but suffice to say is the elixir that enables Eileen to break free from her depravity and enter less hellish and freer states Ms Moshfegh has written a book that is so haunting frightening and demoralizing that you will look at all the women you meet with cautiousness and suspicion No loving grandmas indulgent aunts nurturing mothers devoted wives or obedient daughters Evil lies at the hearts of the best of them or weakness and ugliness in the worst I have to say that I do have *Some Regrets Reading This *regrets eading this as it was like eating spoilt meat it will upset my digestion and cause me some anguish for a few days until the wonderful women in my life can eassure me that Eileen Rebecca and Mrs Polk are the arest of breeds and perhaps only exist in the darkest eaches of our imagination Fucking brilliant Ms Moshfegh but please do not ever ever ever write a new edition of Heidi Annie
*or Pippi Longstocking Jokes asideI want the impact of this book to *Pippi Longstocking Jokes asideI want the impact of this book to uickly SELF LOATHING AS A FORM OF ARTIn the past few years uite by chance I have come across a ich seam "OF FEMALE SELF LOATHING IN FICTION "female self loathing in fiction might think that women writers would be all about positive tales of overcoming the bleakness and I m sure many are but not in these books Grotesue by Natsuo Kirino the unnamed un beautiful older sister spends her whole life hating everybody especially herself A Day Off by Storm Jameson the unnamed middle aged alcoholic frump spends a day hating everybody especially herself Dept of Speculation by Jenny Offill the unnamed am I seeing a pattern here wife spends a solid year or so hating mostly herself Dietland by Sarai Walker Plum Kettle hey unroll your eyes that s her name spends her entire life self loathing her own plus size bodyAll of Jean Rhys novels except Wide Sargasso Sea the variously names alcoholic heroines all of whom are Jean spend their allotted few months in each book totally hating themselves and pretty much everything else the curtains the breakfast egg etc The Piano Teacher by Elfriede Jelinek the gold standard of female self loathing against which all other self loathers are to be judged Erica Kohut spends her entire waking moments hating herself and everything else to such a level of frenzy that the women in the above mentioned books would only look on in envy and loathe themselves a little bit because they couldn t uite get to the level of loathingness Erica Kohut achieves with seeming easeEnter Eileen Dunlop 24 years old living in a filthy house with her crazed alcoholic father who let s her know just how plain and dim she is every day She works as a secretary at a private boy s prison She has put all her father s shoes in the boot of her car to stop him oaming around their cold New England town terrorising the citizens by peeing in their gardens sleeping in their porches and so forth He s an ex cop so all the current cops are very sympathetic She dutifully buys his drink and she hates herself and her life in great detail Here is here elationship with her father I was an adult I knew that I had no curfew There were no official house ules There were only my father s arbitrary ages and when he was in one he would only elax if I agreed to whatever odd humiliating punishment he came up with He d bar me from the kitchen order me to walk to Lardner s and back in the ain The worst crime I could commit in his eyes was to do anything for my own pleasure anything outside my daughterly duties Ugh I mean it s not Stalag 15 I ve heard of worse things than walking to the liuor store in the ain but the unremittingness of Eileen s life gets you She is has no friends she s introverted obsessed with her own body wait till you get to the pages about her toilet egime I would tell you about it but you wouldn t want me to and eally she s a hopeless caseThe blurb lets The Christmas season offers little cheer for Eileen Dunlop an unassuming yet disturbed young woman trapped between her ole as her alcoholic father’s caretaker in a home whose sualor is the talk of the neighborhood and a day job as a secretary at the boys prison filled with its own uotidian horrors Consumed by.
Ottessa Moshfegh ☆ 1 SUMMARYBuilding suspense leaving a trail of tantalizing hinty bread crumbs that will eventually lead up to the big WHAT HAPPENED but when it comes time for the WHAT HAPPENED to HAPPEN its a solid thump without being an explosion which is better than a fizzle but it s not nearly as dramatic a elease as all that pressurized tension seemed to be heading towards could i be vague why yes i believe i could i just don t want to be too spoilery while being completely honest the tension and the build here is perfect hitchcockhighsmith but the payoff itself is not a complete success in the atio of expectation to delivery for me this is often the case with mysterypsychological suspense novels so it didn t mar my enjoyment one bit but i can see how some would be frustrated and who knows maybe for you it WILL be explosive and satisfying i m just me and i loved both the character and the thick and claustrophobic writing enough to excuse what was for me a somewhat unsatisfying ending like The Girl on the Train it s the ide of the ead that carries this book not the way it esolves and i loved the idecome to my blog Ottessa Moshfegh s debut novel Eileen sounded like a great and intriguing ead The 1960 s a girl s escape from a boring life in a small New England town a mysterious crime there are lots of interesting plot points going for this book which will be eleased in August 2015Unfortunately this does not necessarily translate to the writing Don t get me wrong Eileen Dunlop is an interesting yet thoroughly unlikable character and her insights into her life ange from bland and depressive to curious and strange But the story drags on There is no action and a lot of epetitions You constantly feel like surely next page something is going to happen Not so much out of suspense but ather because you see the pages of the book unning out The interesting plot only starts at the very end where the eader finally finds out what hideous crime Eileen was involved inEileen s story is told in the first person by an Eileen who is fifty years older and looking back on her life First person narrative told by a despicable character in flashback is a bold choice for any novel let alone a debut novel Sometimes it works but sadly in this case it does notWith its depressing story and dragging plot I had to force myself to finish eading and found myself eady to simply abandon the book several times The twist is neither Hitchcockian nor is the writing anything like Shirley Jackson or early Vladimir Nabokov as the description claimedIf you want a slow dull and very sad character study look no further If you want a plot twist that would make Hitchcock proud look elsewere UPDATE Kindle 199 special today I listened to the audiobook but others who ead it also gave this book high eviews Its a book I ll never forget but ead many eviews to see if its for you I loved itAudiobook Eileen LOOKING BACK at her lifewhen she was 24 years of age living in MassachusettsAt the start of the story she tells us in a week she will un awayPlus we know Eileen has a menial secretary type job at a boys correctional esidence AT AGE 24she slept on a cot in the atticshe had no need for friendstook laxatives often tells us about emptying her bowels obsessive with her laxative addictionshe smelled hated to shower loved the filth on her bodyher father a etired police officer often told her she smelled like hell a vile man anywayshe felt like killing her father but didn t want him to die yet he was always degraded hershe drank beer with her dad ate peanutsshe wasn t friendly with her father but they did talk sometimes she lived in his house it was just the two of themHer father owned a gun which Eileen talks about and I wondered aboutEileen would hide father S Shoes So He shoes so he t leave the house to walk to the liuor storeHer father t like Eileen at all had loyalty toward his bottle of gin than heras a child was plump and uglyat 24 she was 100 pounds with many clothes ona body of bones Her hip bones stuck out so much it hurt when she bumped into tables and thingsshe tells us about her sexual fantasies her epressed sexuality her masturbation but she is a virgin at 24and her bitterness for never having love in her lifewe learn Eileen had a date to her Senior Prom likes the color navy blue wore a navy blue dress but her date wasn t the star love in her story She fancied another guy obsessively almost stalking himshe hated church but went with her father on Sundaysshe had an older sister pretty she had moved away They didn t talkEileen spent time in the cold basement of the house like her mother often did before she died wondered what her mother did there Her mother was mean too Eileen cried much when her dog died than when her mother diedshe pretended to believe in god She spent years of going to bible school as a childEileen was shy didn t like happy peopleor pretty people She was lonely and angry felt abandoned by her dad and the world She was negative about everyone and everything She pitied herself and didn t care about others Eileen was darker than dark Why should I ache for anyone else My pain was the only one that achedMost of the storyI was neutral of judgement to this odd young womenI kept listening to the audiobook intently to Eileen talk on and on HOLDING MY INTEREST THE NARRATOR GETS THE HIGHEST RATING FROM ME TRULY OUTSTANDING I began to wonderHOW WILL THIS STORY END How will I feel I was getting and curious towards the endwith NO CLUE how Ottessa Moshfegh would bring Eileen to a final close I didn t feel epulsed eading about Eileen s childhood Seems I was able to hear it from a distance without my own well being being disturbed I was simply present I was very interested to know how this story would end I admit towards the end my compassion deepen for Eileen as the wounded child she was Tears an down my cheeks at the later LATER endfrom exhaustion Or just completely over whelmed blown away by this storyI thought of this uote If I am not for myself who is for me And if I am only for myself what am I And if not now when HillelI thought this was a phenomenal engaging audiobook a brilliant character study the narrative has energy and vision A tragic storybut utterly engrossing to the final end SORRY AGAIN I m failing with the 3 sentences I may still work on it I just thought this book was exceptional uniue clearly not for everyone I am however saving tons of time not eading many arc books I m in heaven this year much happier eading what I want when I want Not following a due date list EILEEN did not work for meat allEILEEN Dunlap is a 24 year old disturbed young woman She is unhappy has atrocious nutrition personal hygiene and lives like a pig She has no self worth her thoughts for the most part are nasty and morbid and she is trapped in a forlorn life she detests with a passionuntil an inane opportunity to make a change presents itselfEILEEN has a stagnant almost nonexistent plot that goes nowhere and a epulsive character analysis that seemed to go on forever with an ending that was pretty much a non eventGlad this one is over. Ul and cheery Rebecca Saint John arrives on the scene as the new counselor at the prison Eileen is enchanted and proves unable to esist what appears at first to be a miraculously budding friendship But her affection for Rebecca ultimately pulls her into complicity in a crime that surpasses her wildest imaginings. ,
Ou know that SOMETHING WILL HAPPEN to this poor wretch and the novel is divided into days MONDAY followed by TUESDAY the big dramatic buildup and this works to keep you eading furiously and yes something DOES happen but you have to wait for it Hint CHRISTMAS EVEHere s some advice from Eileen which I have made a note of When I was very upset hot and shaking I had a particular way of controlling myself I found an empty oom and grit my teeth and pinched my nipples while kicking the air like a cancan dancer until I felt foolish and ashamed That always did the trick I am totally going to try that next time I am very upset Do not ead Eileen if you don t like epulsive characters if you e turned off by graphic descriptions of bodily smells and filth or if you like your novels to be action packed Do ead Eileen if you like dark character studies and can stand to be strung along for most of a book before getting to the crux of what is being foreshadowed Eileen the narrator looks back at a few days in 1964 when she was 24 years and living a nasty life in a small town with her nasty father working at a nasty job And Eileen is not particularly nice either in fact she s pretty nasty and she pretty much knows it Enough said There s no point evealing the plot This one is an experience ather than a story and it will work for some and not for others I liked eading Eileen once I got in the ight head space It s cleverly written it s like the layers of an onion slowly being peeled away underneath there s still onion but I like onions every now and then Despite the darkness there s an undercurrent of humour dark humour The end was weird but no weirder than the est of the book eally I m not sure I would classify this one as Booker material but the lists are getting odder every year so Eileen probably fits as well on the list as other books Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for giving me access to a copy I couldn t be bothered to deal with fixing things I preferred to wallow in the problem dream of better daysthis book takes place in the early sixties and is about a woman named eileen dunlop a tightly wound and inwardly unstable twenty four year old woman who works at a juvenile correctional facility for boys and lives with her alcoholic father in a shambles of a house it chronicles the events of one week in a frigid new england winter after which she will unexpectedly leave town never to eturn it s about obsession crime loneliness frustration and a slow psychological unravelingthis is one of the best character studies i can emember eading in a long time eileen is an incredibly ichly detailed unreliable narrator she is simultaneously sympathetic and epellent and i could not look away i love her voice i love her dismal preoccupation with her body its size its secretions its capacity as a humbling agent i love how outside she is how outwardly frigid yet prone to passionate fantasies she is memorable and when you inhale books the way i do that statement says a lot for me this character development trumped the mystery element and the overall creepy tone was perfectly executedthis is probably my favorite passage because its focus keeps spiraling deeper and deeper displaying her patterns of vicious self scrutiny and igorous self control it s heartbreaking and fascinating like so much of this book I d never learned how to elate to people much less how to speak up for myself I preferred to sit and age uietly I d been a silent child the kind to suck my thumb long enough to buck out my front teeth I was lucky they did not buck out too far still of course I felt my mouth was horse like and ugly and so I barely smiled When I did smile I worked very hard to keep my top lip from iding up something that euired great estraint self awareness and self control The time I spent disciplining that lip you would not believe I truly felt that the inside of *My Mouth Was Such A Private Area *mouth was such a private area and folds of wet parting flesh that letting anyone see into it was just as bad as spreading my legs People did not chew gum as egularly then as we do now That was considered very childish So I kept a bottle of Listerine in my locker and swished it often and sometimes swallowed it if I didn t think I could get to the ladies oom sink without having to open my mouth to speak I didn t want anyone to think I was susceptible to bad breath or that there were any organic processes occurring inside my body at all Having to breathe was an embarrassment in itself This was the kind of girl I wasso much of her experiences are made up of this combination of discomfort and endurance of sacrifice and avoidance Outside I tested the temperature with the tip of my tongue sticking it out into the biting wind until it hurt That night it must have been down close to single digits It hurt just to breathe But I preferred cold weather over hot Summers I was estless and cranky I d break out in ashes have to lie in cold bathsI did not like to sweat in front of people Such proof of carnality I found lewd disgusting Similarly I did not like to dance or do sports I did not listen to the Beatles or watch Ed Sullivan on TV I wasn t interested in fun or popularity back then I preferred to ead about ancient times distant lands Knowledge of anything current or faddish made me feel I was just a victim of isolation If I avoided all that on purpose I could believe I was in control control is a big part of eileen s persona her epression her confined age the death mask she turns to the world and yet even in this she is erratic deliberately compromising that control with alcohol letting the mask slip a bit while deluding herself that she is still well ardshe suffers from body dysmorphia hides herself under matronly clothes far too old for her freuently "FROM THE CLOSET OF HER DECEASED "the closet of her deceased she feels flaccid huge ugly but occasionally lets slip details that contradict her self assessment That night I lay on my cot and poked at my belly counted my ibs suished at my guts with gloved fingers It was cold up in the attic and that cot was flimsy It just barely bore my weight one hundred pounds with clothes on if that but for all her self possession she is still prone to vivid erotic fantasies tamped down under her disgust with the body and its needs but fiery for all that I spent many hours watching his biceps flick and pump as he turned each page of his comic book When I imagine him now I think of the way he d swerve a toothpick around in his mouth It was beautiful It was poetry I asked him once nervous and idiculous whether he felt cold wearing just short sleeves in winter He shrugged Still waters an deep I thought nearly swooning It was pointless to fantasize but I couldn t help imagine one day he d throw stones at my attic window motorcycle steaming out in front of the house
MELTING THE WHOLE TOWN TO HELLthe whole town to hell was not immune to that sort of thinghowever i think this might be one of those books that is a for me without being a for everyone the structure of the book is a bit of a tease the narrative loops over and upon itself slowly drawing out the tension. Resentment and self loathing Eileen tempers her dreary days with perverse fantasies and dreams of escaping to the big city In the meantime she fills her nights and weekends with shoplifting stalking a buff prison guard named Randy and cleaning up her increasingly deranged father’s messes When the bright beautif.