Reviews tagging Racism

내 휴식과 이완의 해, by Ottessa Moshfegh

78 reviews

elle_isobe's review against another edition

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dark reflective sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.75


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afion's review against another edition

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4.0


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starryybella's review against another edition

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challenging dark funny reflective tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.5

If you read books to relate to the characters or “be friends” with the characters, steer clear of this book.
One sentence can be used to describe this book: It’s basically about a white woman white womaning.
This uncomfortable, crude, dissociative, and nihilistic escape of reality has no close substitute for it. I don’t know where to really begin.
The story follows our unnamed narrator, a blonde, thin, beautiful white woman who just graduated from Columbia and is living off of her parents’ inheritance. She is in pursuit of her “year of rest and relaxation”, given the title of the book, and accomplishes this by taking a profuse amount of drugs prescribed by a quack of a psychiatrist (who oddly resembles a drug dealer, and is one in the quite literal, legal sense). She only finds catharsis through sleep - it’s one of the only times she remembers ever bonding with her mother, by napping with her. This is her “transformation” into a new person, to come out as refreshed as ever. 
About ninety percent of the book is about our narrator sleeping. However, Moshfegh is able to make this cyclical drug haze interesting and in a strange way, both readable and unreadable. She makes you feel like you’re the one in this drug-induced drowsiness
Moshfegh has this distinct characteristic in her books about having unlikeable characters in them - and it makes her books all the more interesting to read. 
Our narrator knows she’s privileged in almost every way. She doesn’t care. In fact, she takes advantage of that privilege for her own benefit, and is cruel to people because her privilege and denial or brushing off to accept she has trauma. She’s shallow and can disregard what’s happening in the real world while in pursuit of paradise through sleep.
That made it uncomfortable to read. Not necessarily unreadable, but I couldn’t do it in one sitting. I felt disgust to the core.
And I didn’t feel pity for the narrator either - but you aren’t supposed to. They’re supposed to be repulsive, as Moshfegh confirmed in an interview with the New Yorker.
However, as unlikeable as the narrator was, she was realistic in the sense that because she was so privileged. She had a unique air about her and had this very specific kind of cruelty and projection to everyone around her that only the privileged could ever experience. This is a common theme I seem to read in people who are conscious about their privilege in many aspects.
Because of this privilege and very narrow mindset and priorities, she has this unbearable habit of projecting herself onto everyone around her; more specifically, she does this with her bulimic best friend Reva, who deserved better. The main feeling this evoked for me was pity for Reva for not having a better friend and because she was going through so much, this made her the target of a lot of the narrator’s anger.
I’m repeating myself, but again, disgust. 
“My Year of Rest and Relaxation” also hits on aspects of depression, grief, and trauma that make it all the more realistic. The narrator refuses to accept, it seems, that the indifference her parents treated her with is considered trauma, and instead brushes it off. She never got a chance to grieve her father, and much less her mother. Her depression renders her motivation-less, causing her to want to sleep all the time - She even gets fired from her job at a New York art gallery by drugging herself up and falling asleep in the janitor’s closet. Repeatedly.
What I can appreciate about this book is the fact it doesn’t romanticize depression and portrays it in an extreme, but realistic light of how much of a blow it can be to someone’s perception of reality and of the world around them.
This wanting an escape from how awful reality is, through sardonic humor and monotonous actions, really struck a chord with me. I will say, readers have to be in the right headspace to read this book. I wasn’t really in said headspace when I picked this book up, but in retrospect, that probably gave me more perspective on the book’s meaning, as well as a morbid, unique fascination with this book.
Apart from the narrator, which is the main focus of the book, I have three other problems with “My Year of Rest and Relaxation” that are more minor, but prominent details in the book.
I feel like it’s most likely meant to be a satire on medical professionals, specifically psychiatrists, in the early 2000’s. I can use context clues to imply that, even if I wasn’t alive. However, the fact it was released in 2018 and used this one caricature of a medication-slinging psychiatrist as the face of mental health professionalism in the book really pissed me off to no end.
Secondly, the racism in this book, although not laced throughout the whole book, has sudden appearances that also did not fail to make me livid. I’ll leave it at that, because I don’t even feel like upsetting myself all over again by describing the comment that really made me appalled.
Last but not least, sorry, but what the f–k was that ending? It didn’t sit right with me what happened, as well as it feeling very tacked-on and rushed. I felt that without the last page, the narrator was somewhat reconcilable. It’s what knocked my review from four stars to three and a half stars.
I liked this book but I didn’t at the same time. It’s going to take me a little while longer to clarify my feelings on the narrator and the book.

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lvrdy's review against another edition

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dark reflective slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0


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alishamegan's review against another edition

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dark mysterious reflective relaxing medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.5

Super cool, absurdo read that was a page turner despite nothing really happening in terms of plot, but I am someone that often prefers a good character study over plot. Really enjoyed it.

I don't like how a character's race is only mentioned when they're poc. Not sure if intentional as book is in first privileged-white-woman but even if it is it's too subtle for most white readers and maybe even a few poc readers to pick up on imo if you're super used to all white cast or always assume that anyway. Although this behaviour/racialisation of others/centering of whiteness ofc suits MC and the critique of rich white American privilege.


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blue_is_at_sea's review against another edition

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dark emotional sad slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0


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the_mymble_daughter's review against another edition

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challenging reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

Up until the last 40 pages it was a 4.5, upon finishing it’s a 4.0

Oddly felt quite light when I finished it. It was an absorbing read, I found that the world felt very real, I could imagine it entirely. Moshfegh’s narrator was expertly crafted, the realest person I’ve ever read. I enjoyed her style of writing a lot, a fab mix of gross, gritty yet also funny, getting a few laughs out of me!

I feel I could’ve read 200 more pages of the first 240 but after that I feel like it wrapped up a bit too fast and the ending is a little… unexpected? Slightly rushed too, especially for a story where generally nothing happens. I think the message is good but after all that has happened I think if she were real that wouldn’t be the outcome as its a bit too optimistic/hopeful; for such a character as her it kind of did an injustice to the overall sense of bleakness that had previously been created. Almost feels like all the work of creating an atmosphere had been undone with no real semblance of reason or care. I do think the same conclusion could’ve been come to eventually but it needed more than 10 pages.

I did definitely enjoy it however, the moral ambiguity and absurdity of it made it gripping. There’s something very raw and cold about it, she’s absolutely horrid and I love it! I think most that read it will find unpleasant parts of her personality within themselves yet at the same time find her as a whole utterly abhorrent. It’s a reminder that as humans we cannot be the perfect people we ourselves wish others to be. Though, she is quite fiercely bigoted, which I hope no one relates to….

The notion of my future suddenly snapped into focus: it didn’t exist yet. I was making it, standing there..

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kt2e56's review against another edition

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dark fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

2.0

Ugh. First of all, it’s not hard to “get” what’s happening with this book. Just like American Psycho, which this book reminded me of quite a bit, My Year of Rest & Relaxation is unbelievably shallow. So me not liking it doesn’t mean it went over my head. I just didn’t like the book.

I know the author has been on a crusade about how it’s sexist to not like a book with unlikable female characters but it’s not that I don’t like books about unlikable women, I like well-written books about unlikable women. The nameless main character is boring. She just is. She’s racist and nasty and cruel but above all, just so fucking boring. And the author is boring. We get it: somehow despite not showering for weeks, having crusted up eyes, toothpaste all over her face, and god knows what else…everyone is bending over backwards to let the main character know that she’s still just so beautiful and perfect and nobody could ever be thinner or prettier. My god. Find something less cliche.

What was I’m assuming supposed to be some big shocking reveal at the end about Reva dying in 9/11, I literally predicted when I was 22% of the way into the book. So not really that shocking. Just another cliched attempt at controversy.

I did give this one whole extra star for the spot on critiques about the art world. I thought that was genuinely funny and satirical. Ditto for the author’s description of Long Island (I live one town over from Farmingdale in Massapequa. Lol.) which I found pretty funny. Otherwise? Meh. I don’t take Infermiterol but I’m sure I’ll forget this book in three days.

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lqne's review against another edition

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challenging reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5


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nshira's review against another edition

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dark emotional reflective slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.25


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