Eileen (Paperback)Ottessa Moshfegh (author)
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Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2016
I was like Joan of Arc or Hamlet, but born into the wrong life – the life of a nobody, a waif, invisible. There’s no better way to say it: I was not myself back then. I was somebody else. I was Eileen.
There are a lot of stories about the way people become trapped by their lives, this isn’t one of those; this is something quite different. This is a book about escape.
At the beginning of this taut, unconventional thriller the narrator tells the reader to be sure not to judge her by her appearance. Eileen Dunlop is bookish, in itchy knee-length woollen skirts she is the picture of respectability. As Christmas approaches, Eileen spends her life between her day job in a boy’s penitentiary and her home where she delivers round after round of gin to her alcoholic father
Consumed by 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 handsome prison guard named Randy, and cleaning up her increasingly deranged father's messes.
When the beautiful, charismatic Rebecca Saint John arrives on the scene as the new counsellor at the prison, Eileen is enchanted and unable to resist what appears 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.
Played out against the snowy landscape of coastal New England, blending true noir and the eerie, unforgettable books of Shirley Jackson and Flannery O'Connor, this mesmeric, terrifying, sublimely funny debut novel enthralls and shocks, and introduces one of the most original new voices in contemporary literature.
'A taut psychological thriller, rippled with comedy as black as a raven's wing.' - The Times
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Number of pages: 272
Weight: 192 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 17 mm
"A sucker punch of a novel, full of fury and disgust, heart-wrenching in places, a masterclass in mood and tone. Eileen is a fantastic creation and a surprisingly satisfying antidote to the dozy and complacent heroines of much so-called literary fiction." -- Julie Myerson
"An unforgettable new American voice." * Los Angeles Times *
"The great power of this book...is that Eileen is never simply a literary gargoyle; she is painfully alive and human, and Ottessa Moshfegh writes her with a bravura wildness that allows flights of expressionistic fantasy to alternate with deadpan matter of factness... As a character study, the book is a remarkable tour de force... As an evocation of physical and psychological squalor, Eileen is original courageous and masterful. Moshfegh never panders." -- Sandra Newman * Guardian *
"A seductive novel...Moshfegh writes beautiful sentences. One after the other they unwind - playful, shocking, wise, morbid, witty, searingly sharp. The beginning of this novel is so impressive, so controlled yet whimsical, fresh and thrilling, you feel she can do anything." * New York Times *
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“Worst of the Longlist, An Ever Harder Sell for the Shortlist”
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