The writer Ottessa Moshfegh (Boston, 1981) seems intent on proving that he is able to convince critics and audiences with his peculiar fondness for unconventional stories, something demented and perverse, strangely addictive and tinged with a sarcastic black humor. He likes the hardest yet, there's no doubt, and he's good at it. In his latest novel, My year of rest and relaxation (Alfaguara), this translates into more than 300 pages in which drags the reader to the narcoleptic project of a rich and beautiful heiress who decides in 2000 to be erased from the world for 12 months, leave his work in an art gallery in Chelsea and lock himself in his apartment in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, to sleep by hitting pills and try to be reborn after clean of anguish.
Almost as peculiar as the protagonist's project is the Moshfegh idea of writing about someone who just wants to sleep and who sleeps. "I spent a summer in that neighborhood in a friend's house and I began to imagine the character's life, that's how the game started. The more she wrote, the more clearly that mission was emerging that she imposed on herself to sleep to get away from any trauma, "he explained Wednesday in a telephone conversation from Los Angeles. "To situate it at that moment prior to the fall of the Twin Towers was something that took shape when describing the gallery where I worked and the art of that period."
As the narrator of his previous novel My name was Eileen -Winner of the PEN / Hemingway Award and nominated for the Man Booker-, the leading voice of My year of rest and relaxation it contains a brutal sincerity and cruelty, a clever humor, frankly ruthless, rare in fiction. Does Moshfegh lack the fiercest female narrators? "There are intimate things that are often not in the novels, but it's not that I have a plan to correct this. Nor am I a typical reader because I am a writer: if a book has a spirit, and something has not been shown, I think it is a deliberate decision. I really do not care. A character that is not complete does not bother me especially. The nice thing in literature is not a scale that takes into account. " With the character of Eileen and her eschatological scenes, this confessed admirer of Charles Bukowski He expressed it clearly. Between that narrator and the new sleeping beauty, the writer sees some similarities – "they have difficult relationships with their mothers and voices with a similar hue" – but if the first one was invisible to the world and wanted to immerse herself in it, the second wants to escape by hitting pills. The premise of My year of rest and relaxation, recognizes Moshfegh, was "dangerous" at a time like the current one in which the United States is mired in a brutal crisis of opiates and addictions. "I did not want to write about someone who is hanged and is dependent on someone who deliberately uses medication." Moshfegh frontally rejects victimization, in his novels and in the rest of his writings, as the essay that he published in autumn in the magazine Granta about how when the university arrived he tried to win over a senior writer flirting with him, the reverse of #Metoo. "I'm not interested in victim stories, but active characters. The victims are passive, the stories that emerge from there detract from the characters' power. "
The label of Rare avis It fits well with Moshfegh. Of Iranian father and Croatian mother, both musicians, grew up on the East Coast, studied in Barnard, lived a couple of years in China, suffers from sclerosis, and met her boyfriend, with whom she spends long periods in the desert, during an interview . "Every character I write is not me, but I see myself reflected." And with the last one, he shares an unbridled passion for Whoopi Goldberg, "a frankly different creature".