Eileen ~ by Ottessa Moshfegh

This is not for the feint at heart!    I might have read it anyway,  but it was chosen  for a group (BookerPrize Group  for August).   I  postponed it until closer to the discussion,  but couldn’t wait anymore     I knew the schedule and it came up on sale.  (lol)

I disliked every single character in this book.  They are all (every one of them) sick, ugly, and very realistically drawn.   That said,  the combination makes for a good story and I certainly don’t judge a book by if I “like” the characters.  .


by Ottessa Moshfegh
2016 / 272 pages
read by Aylssa Bresnahan – 8h 46m
rating – 7/A  –   literary suspense 

Eileen Dunlop is a youngish woman whose mother died some years prior and at the point of the main story lives alone with her father.  Her father is a chronic drunkard – a danger.    Eileen is not much better,  but she’s young,  employed at a juvenile detention center,  and not really dangerous.   She tells us her story in 1st person from the vantage point of a couple decades later.

Eileen’s mental issues are apparent from the start –  she’s incredibly self-pitying,  resentful and judgmental.  She and her father have let the house fall apart in the worst ways and she’s lazy,  smelly,  skinny,  friendless –  hateful really.   She even despises herself and she’s horribly lonely.  She’s wanted to leave for years.   Eileen seems to be telling us the truth of the ugly situation – as she sees it anyway – that’s not a problem.

Then one day a new co-worker shows up at the detention center and befriends Eileen.  Rebecca St. John is everything Eileen wants in a friend.

The suspense is excellent and the writing quite good – it was even short-listed for the Man Booker Prize.  If you enjoy suspense and can tolerate a fair amount of wickedness, (retold,  not graphic)   I say go for it.

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2 Responses to Eileen ~ by Ottessa Moshfegh

  1. Lisa Hill says:

    I’ve seen this one around in the shops, but it doesn’t appeal!


    • I understand – we don’t discuss it until August but I think I’ll remember enough to avoid rereading. It’s good once, if you really like suspense, but to double-dip I would possibly consider masochism. (lol)


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