I have always been a pretty stupid girl. Neither an intellectual nor a kind – stupid in the both sense of the word. It is not something I put a score in, it is a factual finding. In Ottessa Moshfeghs romanpersoner I have found my ilk: antihjältinnorna which makes my black heart melt, my sluggish brain to delight. They tend to be amoral, self-absorbed, suspicious – they find themselves in a constant struggle against the situation they both despise and try to maintain a reasonably normal facade in the face. The contrast between inside and outside is stark: life is a private little hell that constantly need to be operated and managed.
Ottessa Moshfegh was born in 1980 in New England, the united states and debuted in 2014 with the short novel ”McGlue”. ”Eileen” was published in 2015, and was nominated the following year for the prestigious Man Booker Prize. ”My year of rest and relaxation” was released last year, and will in English in the summer. ”Eileen” is in the fine English translation of the Alva Dahl. Liu has also published a number of short stories, in journals such as Paris Review.
romanpersoner to the intricate forms of självbestraffning and different types of abuse: barbiturates, alcohol, food. Not infrequently, this gives rise to in-depth studies in the bodily excesses: this is vividly reproduced the experiment with laxatives, a bowel movement on the floor in a workplace (which happens to be a well-rounded gallery), a berättarjag as calmly vomit after every meal and claim that the fingers feels like a lovely breeze in the neck. In Moshfeghs the universe treated this with the same objectivity as when the characters buy a coffee or start your car.
for some reason, the tremendous freedom and joy in me (two words, I sincerely detest). Yes! I want to scream, Just so! I would like to applaud and nod in agreement, turn on a mighty drum. Not that I'm more interested in laxatives than any other, but for Liu written until the least sympathetic characters I encountered – in the most lovable way.
Moshfeghs last two novels have both a young woman in the lead role. They hate their lives, to a certain extent, themselves. Here are all of the time and two motions: to enjoy it destructive, and to escape, to find a solution, to take away. If the latter sounds like a constructive counterforce, I have expressed myself wrong, for the solution to the problem is just as destructive and hopeless as the problem itself. Eileen Dunlop in the novel Eileen need to be medskyldig to a murder in order to leave his old life behind. The unnamed narrator of ”My year of rest and relaxation” decides to sleep for a whole year to find out whether her life is meaningful and worth living.
Her glance at his tjugofyraåriga I'm totally osentimental and the opposite of fussy
, during the few fateful days just before christmas. The story of the story being told fifty years later by the aging Eileen who looks back on his life. Her gaze on his tjugofyraåriga I'm totally osentimental and the opposite of fussy: she understands the young Eileen, but she respects her. What she understand is why Eileen is leaving his old life, and how bleak and meaningless their lives were like. She describes her then I with the words:
”I hated almost everything. I was deeply unhappy and angry all the time. I tried to put a leash on me and it just made me even more uncomfortable, unhappy, and angry.”
The young Eileen lives with his difficult, alcoholic father, who is a catholic former police officer. She fantasizes about coming home and finding him half-dead, nedrasad for the stairs with his neck in a weird angle. On the days she works in a prison for to spread out a covering of boys who committed various crimes – murder and rape. Eileen takes care of dutifully, but the hypocritical nature of their work; pretending to sort the folders and designing the senseless form to be answered by the punished the boys ' mothers when they come to visit (”Who is your favorite star? When you go and add you in the evening?”). The rest of the time driving her around in her father's broken car, where the windows all the time must be nedvevade that she is not going to be affected by some kind of gas poisoning (a view she obviously enjoys). Every night, driving her off to the local spritbutiken to buy the father's daily intake of gin. To the exterior is Eileen from, shy, and dressed like an old-fashioned librarian. Her inner world is characterized by fantasies about sex, sudden death, and gratuitous violence.
of course is extremely strenuous (it knows all who have ever been teenagers or had to daily prove themselves in the workplace). Eileen makes use of what she calls the dödsmasken to check their appearance. She is extremely busy of how she appears outwardly, and has carefully studied the casts of famous dead men, and trained in front of the mirror in order to achieve their mild, relaxed faces. Dödsmasken will be in the extension Eileens expression of how you appear outwardly: even grannhusen have a death mask. She can't imagine that there is harmony between the inside and outside – for her to run all of the same vibrant anger and anxiety.
She is unstoppable in its goal madness
Eileen is in a way an elegant and classically designed noirthriller, complete with all the right ingredients: a blonde seductress, the snowy New England fund, a Tjechovskt rifle which, of course, will be fired. On the other hand, it is an unconventional portrait of a young woman who is completely furious and at the same time, subservient and obsequious. In a paradoxical way, Eileen and her mocking hopeless existence, an expression of freedom. No thoughts or bodily functions is her alien, no documents or relationships. She is unstoppable in its goal of madness, which Liu finally explode.
is to the outer Eileens contrast: long, blonde, modellvacker and well aware of their privileges. She has a legacy from his dead parents, a graduate in art history from Columbia University and a nice apartment in Manhattan. For her becoming the polished facade, an ok button:
”Since adolescence, I'd vacillated between wanting to look like the spoiled WASP that I was and the bum that I felt I was and should have been if I'd had any courage.” (”Since adolescence, I had wavered between wanting to look like the spoiled white överklasstjej I was and the rough sleepers I felt that, and would have been if I had had any spunk.”)
the Year of relaxation and rest will be an experiment to see if life has any meaning. The hope is that she will wake up to a new world, cleansed and empty, like a blank sheet of paper. She finds a seemingly bindgalen psychiatrists who write out the amounts of legal drugs, but that she is not, of course, inaugurates in the project. Just as Eileen appears to her existential loneliness perfect: she hates his best friend, bulimikern Reva, and sometimes calls to her unpleasant ex Trevor (who would rather masturbate to Britney Spears than Chloë Sevigny).
It required several attempts, and visits to Dr. Tuttle (who seems like she is generous with the pills, also, for its own account) that she will find a way to maximize sleep and reduce the risk of just getting high and wandering around half unconscious. There are plenty of examples of people who have done the most absurd things influenced by sleeping pills as Ambien (in Sweden sold under the name Stilnoct) and our heroine wakes up to the amounts of ice cream, chinese food and designer jeans she ordered in her sleep. When Revas mother dies of cancer wakes up the narrator on a train on the way to the funeral, dressed in an expensive, white designerpäls. She has no idea where it comes from.
Sometimes you encounter a book or author at exactly the right time in his life
When she put up a picture of the Tear in the living room interpreters to Rip it as a loving gesture – in fact, it is a reminder not to call Reva when she is under the influence of sleeping pills. It is a telling gesture, typical of the Moshfeghs characters. Kärlekshandlingarna is get. They are not wrapped in any mitigating shimmer. They are simply hjärtlöst and självupptaget human.
the right time in their lives. So it was with me and Moshfegh. Never before has the contrast between how I see myself and how the world sees me been greater, or more ludicrous. My death mask is strange avmätt; I have close to a deep laughter that is supposed to be heartfelt.
Read more: Interview with author Johanna Peace
Liu set the existence on its tip. She points to the need for a kind of existential Phoenix-action to create change. The stories are in a spänningsyta between the destructive and the constructive (where it is constructive, on the other hand, manifests itself by the murder and drugged sleep). Liu shows two contradictory movements: the ugly, the boredom and the drastic attempts to escape it. And the sparkling literature that can arise between the two.
is slitningen between the inner world and the outer reality – and who can not recognize themselves in it?
Both of the novels are told in the first person, and is about women in their twenties. Both novels end in a death. Both novels contain a destructive solution – an unconventional solution – to a problem. Where the problem is existence, life itself. That few others manage to Ottessa Moshfegh depict life as a cramped and dirty cage, and at the same time get me to snort with laughter. Liu makes the impossible possible. She gives life to two characters that is unparalleled, that excel in the perverse, the filthy, the ugly, the forbidden, the egocentric.