Homesick For Another World
This is a collection of short stories best described as psychological fiction. The author easily inhabits the lives of the ordinary, the average, the regular routine and the everyday bric-a-brac. While these lives seem to have only modest value, each character is located in a precise situation; intense isolation, acute alcoholism, reckless boredom.
These individuals can be cruel and stupid but what redeems them is the high-wire act of each seeing themselves as good and worthwhile people. The reader is seldom sympathetic towards these people and the stories usually end with faint resolution - but there is always the suggestion of hope. The stories are beautifully realised and this is down to style. The author has a nonchalant – even insouciant – way of expressing exactly what she means. I agree with one reviewer who commented that Moshfegh can both electrify and terrify the reader in the same sentence! Compelling stuff. Mike
An electrifying first collection from one of the most exciting short story writers of our time
"I can't recall the last time I laughed this hard at a book. Simultaneously, I'm shocked and scandalized. She's brilliant, this young woman."--David Sedaris
Ottessa Moshfegh's debut novel Eileen was one of the literary events of 2015. Garlanded with critical acclaim, it was named a book of the year by The Washington Post and the San Francisco Chronicle, nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award, short-listed for the Man Booker Prize, and won the PEN/Hemingway Award for debut fiction. But as many critics noted, Moshfegh is particularly held in awe for her short stories. Homesick for Another World is the rare case where an author's short story collection is if anything more anticipated than her novel.
And for good reason. There's something eerily unsettling about Ottessa Moshfegh's stories, something almost dangerous, while also being delightful, and even laugh-out-loud funny. Her characters are all unsteady on their feet in one way or another; they all yearn for connection and betterment, though each in very different ways, but they are often tripped up by their own baser impulses and existential insecurities. Homesick for Another World is a master class in the varieties of self-deception across the gamut of individuals representing the human condition. But part of the unique quality of her voice, the echt Moshfeghian experience, is the way the grotesque and the outrageous are infused with tenderness and compassion. Moshfegh is our Flannery O'Connor, and Homesick for Another World is her Everything That Rises Must Converge or A Good Man is Hard to Find. The flesh is weak; the timber is crooked; people are cruel to each other, and stupid, and hurtful. But beauty comes from strange sources. And the dark energy surging through these stories is powerfully invigorating. We're in the hands of an author with a big mind, a big heart, blazing chops, and a political acuity that is needle-sharp. The needle hits the vein before we even feel the prick.
"Razor-sharp short stories." * Zadie Smith * "Moshfegh is consistently as sparky and gripping as she is inventive... She could become one of the most outstanding US writers of her generation." -- Peter Carty * i * "The characters in this collection are an unlovely bunch but make for an irresistible read... She writes terrific, attention-grabbing openings, and impactful last lines that don't strain for a lapidary effect. Her damaged-girl deadpan snark is second to none, but she inhabits other character types with ease." -- Christopher Taylor * Financial Times * "She can really write and has a pitch-black sense of humour." -- Phil Baker * Sunday Times * "Moshfegh's writing is cinematic - vivid, immediate." -- Gwendoline Riley * Times Literary Supplement *
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. One of the stories in this collection, 'Slumming', recently won an O. Henry Award. Her novel Eileen was awarded the 2016 Pen/Hemingway Award and is shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.