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  • Published: 21 May 2019
  • ISBN: 9781784707422
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 304
  • RRP: $26.00

My Year of Rest and Relaxation

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A deliciously dark satire on modern privilege from the Man Booker-shortlisted author of Eileen (and enfant terrible of American fiction), Ottessa Moshfegh


'Savage, funny, frequently on the verge of teetering into lunacy...' Vogue
Discover this deliciously dark satire on modern privilege from the Booker-shortlisted author of Eileen

It’s the year 2000 in a city aglitter with wealth and possibility; what could be so terribly wrong?

Our narrator has many of the advantages of life: Young, thin, pretty, a recent Columbia graduate, she lives in an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan paid for, like everything else, by her inheritance. But there is a vacuum at the heart of things, and it isn’t just the loss of her parents in college, or the way her Wall Street boyfriend treats her, or her sadomasochistic relationship with her alleged best friend.

Blackly funny, both merciless and compassionate – dangling its legs over the ledge of 9/11 – My Year of Rest and Relaxation is a showcase for the gifts of one of America’s major young writers.

  • Pub date: 21 May 2019
  • ISBN: 9781784707422
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 304
  • RRP: $26.00

About the Author

Ottessa Moshfegh

Ottessa Moshfegh is a fiction writer from Boston. She was awarded the Plimpton Prize for her stories in the Paris Review and was granted a creative-writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Her first book, the novella McGlue, was recently published by Vintage. Her novel Eileen was awarded the 2016 PEN/Hemingway Award and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Her collection of stories, Homesick for Another World, was published in 2017.

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Praise for My Year of Rest and Relaxation

“The book that everybody’s talking about… I read it and was entranced.”

The Times

“The superabundantly talented...Moshfegh’s sentences are piercing and vixenish… she is always a deep pleasure to read.”

New York Times

“This is the first book I couldn’t put down this year… Almost offensive with its close-to-the-bone truths, it’s shockingly relatable. And legitimately laugh-out-loud funny. Ottessa Moshfegh is sharp, savage and hilarious. ”

Isabel Dexter, Elle

“My Year of Rest and Relaxation is whip-smart, continuously compelling, and acerbic in all the right ways.”

Daily Telegraph

“Electrifying... [Moshfegh] is adept at crafting compelling female characters who violate the rules of femininity... Moshfegh’s protagonist is an unlikely revolutionary.”

Vanity Fair

“A relentlessly savage fable of privilege and pain… While we’re laughing, we feel disgust. It’s a combination that makes for diamond-hard entertainment.”


“[My Year of Rest and Relaxation is] a laugh-out-loud page-turner... it’s also the best 9/11 novel I’ve read.”

Emily Wilson, Times Literary Supplement **Books of the Year 2018**

“Darkly hilarious... [Moshfegh’s] the kind of provocateur who makes you laugh out loud while drawing blood.”

Vogue, **Must-Read Books of 2018**

“Moshfegh’s blackly funny new novel… [hits] multiple marks at once: as an art-school prank, a between-the-lines tale of displaced grief and a pitiless anatomy of gender injustice, it also offers… a dark state-of-America fable.”

Anthony Cummins, Observer

“The best literary novel (and best book, full stop) that I read in 2019 was My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh. It is that incredibly rare book hyped as being "hilarious" which is actually funny... It's also a devastating satire of WASP culture, psychiatrists and New York.”

Adrian McKinty, Sunday Independent **Books of the Year**

“Ottessa Moshfegh’s unnerving and compelling new novel, My Year of Rest and Relaxation… percussively hammered out in her flawless, rhythmic prose… concludes with a startlingly, unexpectedly beautiful passage… radical, urgent, and more painfully wise than perhaps we would like to admit.”

Sam Byers, Times Literary Supplement

“[Ottessa Moshfegh] has been hailed in America as a saviour of literary fiction... she specialises in anti-heroines who won’t jump through the usual hoops of womanhood... [My Year of Rest of Relaxation is] the kind of wickedly funny book you can tear through in an afternoon.”

Evening Standard

“Ottessa Moshfegh’s second novel is as arresting as her first… A study of alienation and dislocation, Ms Moshfegh's compelling novel is filled with warped desires and reckless pursuits, but also with wisdom and warmth.”


“An arresting, original read… [Moshfegh] has a singular instinct for the jangled interiority of loners and outsiders… a scoop direct from the places to which the human mind plummets in private… This is a novel of immense and yet very ordinary human sadness. That is a lot to achieve.”

Irish Times

“There is no doubt that My Year of Rest and Relaxation is a magnificent satire… As ever, Moshegh shimmers with intelligence and wit.”

Peter Carty, iNews

“Viciously funny… Moshfegh’s writing is as lethally efficient as a flick-knife.”

The Times

“Savage, funny, frequently on the verge of teetering into lunacy… [My Year of Rest and Relaxation] is a non-negotiable in your holiday carry-on this summer.”


“The boldest literary statement of passive resistance since Herman Melville’s scrivener famously declared “I would prefer not to”… [a] deliciously dark and unsettling modern fairytale.”

Financial Times

“[Moshfegh is] one of America's brightest and brashest literary talents—and My Year of Rest and Relaxation is another bold assault on the status quo.”

Josie Mitchell, Prospect

“This may be the finest existential novel not written by a French author… A nervy modern-day rebellion tale that isn’t afraid to get dark or find humor in the darkness.”

Kirkus Review

“I was cringing during every moment of Ottessa Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation, and yet I could not put the book down... Moshfegh’s protagonist is brutally dreary, and the brutality of her dreariness is often very funny, but the book is really... about the realness of a more subtle and very private expression of pain.”

Paris Review

“It's not often that I pick up a book and get a new favorite author. But that's pretty close to what happened... She’s the real thing.”

Arts Journal

“Both refined and depraved… My Year of Rest and Relaxation is a page-turner.”

New Yorker

“My Year Of Rest And Relaxation is blisteringly funny, perceptive, knowing and shows how so many of us lead disaffected, alienated lives even without becoming narcotic recluses.”

Red Online

“You’ll emerge from this darkly hilarious novel not necessarily rested or relaxed but more finely attuned to how delicately fraught the human condition can be.”

Marie Claire

“This is destined to be one of the summer’s most buzzed-about books.”


“Moshfegh’s ear remains as merciless as ever. Like a latter-day Flaubert, she delights in vanity and mediocrity, and in the absurdist heights both can reach whenever the occasion calls for a few sincere words.”

Harper's Magazine

“Moshfegh’s sly new novel is… a strange, compelling tale of existential angst.”

Mail on Sunday

“[The] premise makes me instantly want to reach for the book and hide with it for the next few hours.”


“[Moshfegh] delights in creating fiction…like a magician who performs her best tricks without any props.”

Lucian Robinson, Literary Review

“[With] deadpan, unembellished prose recalling the cadences of Joan Didion and the clear-eyed candor of Mary Gaitskill… My Year of Rest and Relaxation is most convincing as an urbane dark comedy, sharp-eyed satire leavened by passages of morbid sobriety, as in a perverse fusion of Sex and the City and Requiem for a Dream.”

Joyce Carol Oates, New York Review of Books

“Ottessa Moshfegh pulls off an unlikely premise, demonstrating once again the unsettling energy, daring plotting and biting observations that have earned her literary prizes and praise from the start of her career.”

Clare McHugh, Time

“Moshfegh’s managed to produce a funny, acerbic and captivating novel from both a heroine we ought to hate (a rich kid bored with the life of plenty) and a plot that’s almost tautologically sedate (nap after blackout after nap after blackout)… it’s invigorating… what raises this book above the masses is Moshfegh’s wit, her invention, and her unflinching eye for the grotesque; anything could happen to our narrator and we’d keep on reading, because Moshfegh would make it sound unerringly interesting.”

Valerie O’Riordan, Bookmunch

“Ottessa Moshfegh is a merciless comedian of vanity and frailty.”

Alex Clark, Spectator

“Intoxicating… [My Year of Rest and Relaxation] is the boldest literary statement of passive resistance since Herman Melville’s scrivener… It speaks to Moshfegh’s storytelling skills that an account of someone sleep for a year is as gripping as My Year of Rest and Relaxation reads.”

Lucy Scholes, Financial Times

“The writing is precise and hilarious, as well as disturbing and dark.”

New Statesman

“Moshfegh’s characters are often so funny in and about their unhappiness that we don’t want them to escape it, or not yet… My Year of Rest and Relaxation is written in multiple modes at once: comedy and tragedy and farce, blurring into one another, climbing on top of one another.”

Anne Diebel, London Review of Books

“A shocking, hilarious and strangely tender novel.”

Jenna Rak, Glamour Magazine

“I love this book. It's funny, I find it intriguing and Moshfegh has a dark voice. I started reading her and thought, 'This sounds like a female Bret Easton Ellis'.”

Ellie Bamber, Stylist

“Enthralling. The voice is compelling and witty, drawing one into the experience.”

Shamika Tamhane, Cherwell Newspaper

“The black comedy draws you in and the mysteries, twists and turns keep you there.”

Wendy Bristow, Planet Mindful, *Summer Reads of 2019*

“Whip-smart and bleakly funny.”

Chloe Ashby, Monocle

“The most inspiring novel of recent years.”

Eva Wiseman, Observer

“Depressing, dystopian, dry and dark, but also strangely comforting and full of the joy of innocent fantasy of withdrawing from a hostile world.”

Sam Knowles and Sam Waters, NARC

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