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About the book
  • Published: 15 August 2016
  • ISBN: 9781784701468
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $22.99


Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2016


A mordant story of obsession and suspense, by one of the brightest new voices in American fiction


Trapped between caring for her alcoholic father and her job as a secretary at the boys’ prison, Eileen Dunlop dreams of escaping to the big city.

In the meantime, her nights and weekends are filled with shoplifting and cleaning up her increasingly deranged father's messes.

When the beautiful, charismatic Rebecca Saint John arrives on the scene as the new counsellor at the prison, Eileen is enchanted, unable to resist what appears to be a miraculously budding friendship. But soon, Eileen’s affection for Rebecca pull her into a crime that far surpasses even her own wild imagination.
‘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’ The Times

  • Pub date: 15 August 2016
  • ISBN: 9781784701468
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $22.99

About the Author

Ottessa Moshfegh

Ottessa Moshfegh is a fiction writer from Boston. She was awarded the Plimpton Prize for her stories in the Paris Review and was granted a creative-writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Her first book, the novella McGlue, was recently published by Vintage. Her novel Eileen was awarded the 2016 PEN/Hemingway Award and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Her collection of stories, Homesick for Another World, was published in 2017.

Also by Ottessa Moshfegh

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Praise for Eileen

“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

“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

“An unforgettable new American voice.”

Los Angeles Times

“The great power of this book…is that Eileen is never simply a literary gargoyle; she is painfully alive and human, and Ottessa Moshfegh writes her with a bravura wildness that allows flights of expressionistic fantasy to alternate with deadpan matter of factness… As a character study, the book is a remarkable tour de force… As an evocation of physical and psychological squalor, Eileen is original courageous and masterful. Moshfegh never panders.”

Sandra Newman, Guardian

“A seductive novel…Moshfegh writes beautiful sentences. One after the other they unwind – playful, shocking, wise, morbid, witty, searingly sharp. The beginning of this novel is so impressive, so controlled yet whimsical, fresh and thrilling, you feel she can do anything.”

New York Times

“In the literary world…Ottessa Moshfegh is seen as a comer, perhaps even the Next Big Thing. Eileen is a remarkable piece of writing, always dark and surprising, sometimes ugly and occasionally hilarious… Trust me, you have never read anything remotely like Eileen.”

Washington Post

“Ottessa Moshfegh has created one of the great characters of recent fiction. Eileen is a modern masterpiece: cruel, grotesquely beautiful and merciless as a hungry wolf finding a lost fawn in the snow.”

John Burnside

“If Jim Thompson had married Patricia Highsmith – imagine that household – they might have conspired together to dream up something like Eileen. It’s blacker than black and cold as an icicle. It’s also brilliantly realised and horribly funny.”

John Banville

“Excellent…a taut, well-written, and completely engrossing novel…culminating in a dynamite ending.”

Boston Globe

“Perverse, squalid and sinister this expertly paced novel … 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

“Moshfegh is a writer of significant control and range.”

Jeffrey Eugenides

“Mesmerising…A masterly psychological drama that lingers, with a disquieting effect, in the reader’s mind.”


“Wonderfully unsettling first novel... When the denouement comes, it’s as shocking as it is thrilling. Part of the pleasure of the book (besides the almost killing tension) is that Eileen is mordantly funny ... this tale belongs to both the past and future Eileen, a truly original character who is gloriously unlikable, dirty, startling – and as ferociously human as the novel that bears her name.”

San Francisco Chronicle

“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

“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

“A shadowy and superbly told story.”

(starred) Kirkus Reviews

“A very impressive debut novel.”


“Superb storytelling.”

Anthony Cummins, Sunday Telegraph

“The story is utterly compelling.”

Anita Sethi, Mail on Sunday

“Nail-biting climax.”

John Harding, Daily Mail

“A story that is constantly surprising, occasionally hilarious, but undoubtedly dark… Embrace its unsettling hedonism.”

UK Press Syndication

“Thrilling to read.”

Gloucestershire Echo

“Moshfegh’s writings stands out in several spectacular ways... In detail and texture the world she creates is unsettlingly vivid: a considerable achievement for a writer born so long after the era she depicts…. Eileen's anger and frustration dominate her story, helping to create a seamless mood of menace... Moshfegh's debut novel is set to attain classic status within the thriller genre.”

Peter Carty, UK Press Syndication

“An impressive character study full of subtle nuances, shrouded in mystery.”

Western Mail

“Eileen is an accomplished, disturbing and creepily funny first novel… Moshfegh’s control of tone and pace is masterly, her ventriloquism impeccable, and the period detail unobtrusively spot-on. I was occasionally reminded of Nabokov and Lena Dunham, among others, but her voice is her own, and immensely promising.”

Lewis Jones, Spectator

“Moshfegh’s fine, clear, short sentences carry complex thought and emotional revelation effortlessly.”

Joanna Biggs, London Review of Books

“Moshfegh’s boldness is admirable.”

Times Literary Supplement

“Moshfegh is a rising star… Eileen, her expertly paced debut novel concerns a dowdy prison clerk who lives with her gin-soaked father… Moshfegh delivers a thumping finish, leaving the reader dumbstruck by her sly, wicked storytelling genius.”

Daily Telegraph

“A conspicuous nomination as a new voice. The cult following Moshfegh has amassed in only four short years, with steady championing by the Paris Review.”

Culture Trip

“It reminded me of Lolita... Dark and fierce.”

Monocle Arts Review

“Moshfegh is, without a doubt, a very, very good writer… There’s lots of these wonderful moments. Moshfegh’s writing is at its most compelling and chilling when she delicately and intricately weaves the most finely spun…of spiders webs around her readers head… Eileen is a pretty brilliant debut novel.”

Simon Savidge, Savidge Reads

“Moshfegh’s exploration of deep and lasting emotional damage is quite brilliant.”

Jordan Spencer, Conversation

“A dazzling, original novel with nourish flourishes voiced by a wickedly sardonic narrator’”

Jon Day, Guardian

“The Man Booker shortlist has just been announced… Our favourite is Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh.”


“The character of Eileen is fascinating and Moshfegh’s creation is the reason this has made the longlist. Naive, unpredictable and able to elicit responses from sympathy to revulsion from the reader but throughout you will her to get her life back on track and escape both the prison she works in and the one she has created for herself. I would be very happy to see this on the shortlist.”

Phil Ramage, Nudge

“This is eerie, Hitchcockian and refreshingly original.”

Sunday Telegraph

“Sex, death, revenge and abuse run like dark currents beneath every page and come together in a brilliantly sustained denouement in which all the novel’s motifs…cohere and resonate.”

Jude Cook, New Statesman

“A striking and ingenious work… She elevates Eileen from mediocrity to magnificence, in a feat that is nothing short of miraculous… The mark of reading a true master of suspense… Demands to be reread… At once chilling, ambitious and unexpected, Eileen is undoubtedly deserving of its Booker Prize nomination, and, dare I say it, of a win.”

Ella Holden, Oxford Student

“[It is] gripping… The writing is brilliant.”

Methodist Recorder

“A very dark, morbid tale… I loved it, because it’s a really original voice that draws you into a dark psychology.”

Victoria Sadler

“A clever, eloquent and captivating debut novel.”

Brad Davies, i, Book of the Year

“[It is] thrillingly playful.”

A.M. Holmes, Observer, Book of the Year

“The most grimly compelling fiction came from a new voice: Ottessa Moshfegh’s Man Booker-shortlisted Eileen. It takes nerve to create such a thoroughly dislikeable narrator… It is like someone reaching into a bottomless bag of gifts.”

Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, The Times, Book of the Year

“The most grimly compelling fiction came from a new voice: Ottessa Moshfegh’s Man Booker-shortlisted Eileen. It takes nerve to create such a thoroughly dislikeable narrator… It is like someone reaching into a bottomless bag of gifts.”

Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, The Times, Book of the Year

“I loved its refreshingly dark and complicated protagonist and grubbily vivid sense of time and place. Eileen reads like a smart, feminist take on Hitchcock or Highsmith and was, for that reason, impossible to put down.”

Francine Toon, Running in Heels, Book of the Year

“[Eileenis] compulsively deviant and utterly delicious… I savoured every single word of it.”

Mark O'Halloran, Sunday Business Post, Book of the Year

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