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Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh
  

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Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2016.

Shortlisted for the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger Award 2016.

A young woman relentlessly drives through the darkness of the American roads. Is she fleeing from a misdemeanour? Is she on a mission? Slowly, the pieces of her past come together for the reader to assemble a troubled story where apportioning the blame for some tragic events becomes a most murky business. Allusive, elegant, highly poetic in its evocation of the sounds and spells of night and offering disturbing insights into the confused minds of lost women, this is a striking debut from a young US writer whose reputation has been carved in small literary magazines. The criminal element is muted and the single, unassuming parts knit together to form an unexpected whole and define a character that will stay in your mind for a long time afterwards. Demonstrates crime writing is not always necessarily about bodies and killers and imperfect investigators. ~ Maxim Jakubowski

Chair of the Man Booker 2016 judges Amanda Foreman commented: "This is a very exciting year. The range of books is broad and the quality extremely high. Each novel provoked intense discussion and, at times, passionate debate, challenging our expectations of what a novel is and can be. It is a longlist to be relished.”

Played out against the snowy landscape of coastal New England, blending true noir and the eerie, unforgettable books of Shirley Jackson and Flannery O'Connor, this mesmeric, terrifying, sublimely funny debut novel enthralls and shocks, and introduces one of the most original new voices in contemporary literature.

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Synopsis

Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh

The Christmas season offers little cheer for Eileen Dunlop, an unassuming yet disturbed young woman trapped between her role as her alcoholic father's carer in his squalid home and her day job as a secretary at the boys' prison, filled with its own quotidian horrors. Consumed by resentment and self-loathing, Eileen tempers her dreary days with perverse fantasies and dreams of escaping to the big city. In the meantime, she fills her nights and weekends with shoplifting, stalking a handsome prison guard named Randy, and cleaning up her increasingly deranged father's messes. When the beautiful, charismatic Rebecca Saint John arrives on the scene as the new counselor at the prison, Eileen is enchanted and unable to resist what appears to be a miraculously budding friendship. In a Hitchcockian twist, her affection for Rebecca ultimately pulls her into complicity in a crime that surpasses her wildest imaginings.

Reviews

'Fully lives up to the hype. A taut psychological thriller, rippled with comedy as black as a raven's wing, Eileen is effortlessly stylish and compelling.' -- Robert Douglas-Fairhurst The Times

'Captivating... That she's a writer of rare talent and assurance is evident from the start of Eileen: the sentences unspool effortlessly, almost casually, though the material is dark and psychologically complex. The writing is shot through with lovely observation and detail... It's a testament to Moshfegh's skill that she can capture such extremes of light and shadow and, moreover, make us care about a woman who is, in so many ways, intensely dislikeable.' -- William Skidelsky Financial Times

'Perverse, squalid and sinister...expertly paced novel... [A] bravura display of misdirection makes for a guessing game with a genuinely nasty payoff... [Moshfegh] delivers a thumping finish to match the build-up: a single line near the end has the effect of a thunderbolt, leaving us dumbstruck by her sly, almost wicked storytelling genius.' -- Anthony Cummins Daily Telegraph

'There's something far more grubby and gritty here than one expects... Not afraid to peer into the darkest and dirtiest corners of her characters lives, Moshfegh has proved herself an audacious talent, and without doubt one to watch.' -- Lucy Scholes Independent

'Moshfegh is a writer of significant control and range... What distinguishes her writing is that unnamable quality that makes a new writer's voice, against all odds and the deadening surround of lyrical postures, sound unique.' -- Jeffrey Eugenides

'A sucker punch of a novel, full of fury and disgust, heart-wrenching in places, a masterclass in mood and tone. Eileen is a fantastic creation and a surprisingly satisfying antidote to the dozy and complacent heroines of much so-called literary fiction.' -- Julie Myerson

About the Author

Ottessa Moshfegh is a fiction writer from Boston. She was awarded the Plimpton Prize for her stories in The Paris Review and granted a creative writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Her novel Eileen was awarded the 2016 Pen/Hemingway Award.

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Book Info

Publication date

3rd March 2016

Author

Ottessa Moshfegh

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Publisher

Jonathan Cape Ltd an imprint of Vintage Publishing

Format

Hardback
272 pages

Categories

Thriller / Suspense
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Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9781784701468

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