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Publisher's Summary

Entertainment Weekly’s number-one book of 2018.

“One of the most compelling protagonists modern fiction has offered in years: a loopy, quietly furious pillhead whose Ambien ramblings and Xanaxed b*tcheries somehow wend their way through sad and funny and strange toward something genuinely profound.” (Entertainment Weekly)

From one of our boldest, most celebrated new literary voices, a novel about a young woman's efforts to duck the ills of the world by embarking on an extended hibernation with the help of one of the worst psychiatrists in the annals of literature and the battery of medicines she prescribes

Our narrator should be happy, shouldn't she? She's young, thin, pretty, a recent Columbia graduate; she works an easy job at a hip art gallery and lives in an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan paid for, like the rest of her needs, by her inheritance. But there is a dark and vacuous hole in her heart, and it isn't just the loss of her parents, or the way her Wall Street boyfriend treats her, or her sadomasochistic relationship with her best friend, Reva. It's the year 2000 in a city aglitter with wealth and possibility; what could be so terribly wrong?

My Year of Rest and Relaxation is a powerful answer to that question. Through the story of a year spent under the influence of a truly mad combination of drugs designed to heal our heroine from her alienation from this world, Moshfegh shows us how reasonable, even necessary alienation can be. Both tender and blackly funny, merciless and compassionate, it is a showcase for the gifts of one of our major writers working at the height of her powers. 

Named a best book of the year by: The Washington Post, Time, NPR, Amazon, Vice, Bustle, The New York Times, The Guardian, Kirkus Reviews, Entertainment Weekly, The AV Club, and Audible.

©2018 Ottessa Moshfegh (P)2018 Penguin Audio

Editor's Pick

I woke right up for this dark comedy about sleeping
"Strong, world-conquering heroines are everywhere these days. I admire them, which might be why I’m also a bit bored of them. Thank God for Ottessa Moshfegh, who has a knack for making miserable characters eerily seductive (I see you and I love you, Eileen). At the center of My Year of Rest and Relaxation is another disdain-able type: a beautiful, privileged twentysomething who tries to escape her angst—aided by enough pharmaceuticals to make Hunter S. Thompson bat an eye—by sleeping all. The. Time. It’s a simple, ingenious plot that yields more narrative tension than you might think (I was reminded at times of The Girl on the Train’s blackout-induced mysteries), made all the juicier by Oshfegh’s razor-sharp insights, a send-up of the New York art scene, odes to Whoopi Goldberg, and world-weary narration by the amazing Julia Whelan. A lavish ending caps off this wholly original novel. Don’t sleep on it!"
Kat J., Audible Editor

What listeners say about My Year of Rest and Relaxation

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

You haven't heard this story before.

I can honestly say I've never read a story like this before. I can also say I didn't really like it, and I thought the protagonist was a pretty terrible human being. I think that's the point, the point the author was trying to make, but that doesn't mean it's easy to listen to her being terrible to everyone around her.

It was a interesting story though and quite unique. I can appreciate it even if it's not something I would recommend to other people! So, if you want a fairly odd book about an unpleasant individual sedating themselves through the year 2000-2002, go for it!

34 people found this helpful

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Unbearable

I never but never fail to finish a book. Could not give this one a chance past the first several hours of listening. The characters are so artificial and uninteresting and the premise so nihilistic that I could find no reason to punish myself further. I am certain I am missing the point after reading such rave reviews. So be it.

24 people found this helpful

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Entertained by sarcasm and pessimism?

Struggled with the characters smug and callous attitude. She's entitled and privileged and vain. She hates herself and every one else. As the story progressed I could sympathize with her feelings and issues. Self loathing, irritation at just existing some days. Not being a good friend to yourself or anyone else. Toxic inner thoughts overriding a normal life. Overall the story is about average people trying to deal with average stress and loss. It was entertaining to see what would happen next since it involved drug induced black outs. The only real epiphany seemed to be in the very last paragraphs of the story.

18 people found this helpful

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I love it...

Very few times I become obsessed with a book, and this one made the trick!
I was engaged at all times, expectant with what was coming and sad that it ended.
The style is quick, anxious, serene, well constructed.
R for Recommended!

51 people found this helpful

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Found this title by searching for narrator

I love Julia Whelan! I was looking for more books she narrated when I came across My Year of Rest and Relaxation.

I'm not sure why I stuck with it until the end, but it was pretty terrible. My worst listen in years. It's about a self destructive woman fixated on her own ennui. drugs, drugs more drugs. all downers. she should be dead. she isn't. the end.

22 people found this helpful

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Excellent, thoughtful read

This is the second book by Ottessa Moshfegh I’ve read. Her books have a unique voice, and unusual characters. I enjoyed this books quite a lot, but I liked it more once I stopped waiting for something (anything!) to happen. This book is about the journey, there is no destination.

29 people found this helpful

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was this supposed to be commentary on art?

my friends and I read this for book club, and nobody liked it. we spent the whole time trying to find hidden meaning in the story.

7 people found this helpful

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Who doesn’t want to sleep through life sometimes?

Strong, world-conquering heroines are everywhere these days. I admire them, which might be why I’m also a bit bored of them. Thank God for Ottessa Moshfegh, who has a knack for making miserable characters eerily seductive (I see you and I love you, Eileen). At the center of My Year of Rest and Relaxation is another disdain-able type: a beautiful, privileged twentysomething who tries to escape her angst—aided by enough pharmaceuticals to make Hunter S. Thompson bat an eye—by sleeping all. The. Time. It’s a simple, ingenious plot that yields more narrative tension than you might think (I was reminded at times of The Girl on the Train’s blackout-induced mysteries), made all the juicier by Oshfegh’s razor-sharp insights, a send-up of the New York art scene, odes to Whoopi Goldberg, and world-weary narration by the amazing Julia Whelan. A lavish ending caps off this wholly original novel. Don’t sleep on it!

52 people found this helpful

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Outstanding narration!

A nice Manhattan apartment and enough money that you don't need a job. Who wouldn't be depressed! Moreover, the protagonist is also very good looking. (roll eyes here)

For those of you who have not read the book, it's basically the story of a reclusive young woman who gets through life self-medicating so that she sleeps a lot. Her interactions with others largely involve a friend dropping by regularly; perhaps not so much a friend as we might think of it, but recognition on her part that she needs to have a connection to at least one other person on the planet. For the early part of the story, she did come through as a spoiled brat; however, like the villainess in Gone Girl, she's on-target on her observations of her world.

High point of the novel for me was her agreeing to schlep out to Long Island for her friend's mother's funeral. Since most of the previous "action" had been at the Manhattan apartment, this section really showcased the author's ability for description and scene-setting. Treading on the edge of spoiler territory, I'll report that the last part of the book had to do with the protagonist realizing she couldn't go on like this indefinitely, so she comes up with a plan to return to a relatively normal life. Unfortunately, I felt I had to completely suspend disbelief to believe that things would work out as they did.

So, I would recommend the book with the strong advice that the character was quite unlikable in the early chapters. So, if you are willing to accept that it does get better towards the middle of the book, consider this one. It also helps if you accept that the story can be read as quite a bit of satire.

6 people found this helpful

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A fantastic journey into nothing

The story has one on the edge of something that never happens. Yet there is a depth that inspired the heart. We all have own way to navigate this crazy world.

20 people found this helpful