The New York Times selected Moshfegh as one of the best of our new female authors, and Eileen is certainly an intriguing character study. The year is 1964 and Eileen Dunlop, age 24, lives with her alcoholic, unloving father who is a retired policeman. Her mother died when she was 19, and her older sister lives in the same New England town, but they never see each other. Eileen works in a juvenile detention facility where her main duty seems to be patting down mothers who come to visit their sons. Eileen dreams of leaving her drunk, mean-spirited father and her boring, ungratifying job and heading to New York City, but she doesn’t have the wherewithal to do it. She can be pathetic, sympathetic, self-destructive, unbalanced, insecure and mean.
Although Moshfegh claims that when she began writing this novel it was humorous, I can’t think of one funny moment in it. In fact, depression and loneliness permeate the whole book. If you’re looking for a read that will cheer you up, it’s not Eileen.
2 thoughts on “Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh 260 pages”
The more I read, the more dismal the story became. Can’t understand where the raves were about. Read American Marriage and Pachinko where we’re so much better. I love your Blog, Nancy. Happy Passover. Warmly, Myrna🌈💐
Love hearing from you. I read American Marriage but didn’t review it because I knew the world liked it and I didn’t. Didn’t feel a thing for any of those characters even the innocent husband who was thrown in prison. Figured it was me and not the book. Happy Passover to you and your family, Myrna.