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A deliciously dark satire on modern privilege from the Man Booker-shortlisted author of Eileen (and enfant terrible of American fiction), Ottessa Moshfegh


'Savage, funny, frequently on the verge of teetering into lunacy... My Year of Rest and Relaxation is a non-negotiable in your holiday carry-on this summer' Vogue

It’s the year 2000 in a city aglitter with wealth and possibility; what could be so terribly wrong?

Our narrator has many of the advantages of life: Young, thin, pretty, a recent Columbia graduate, she lives in an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan paid for, like everything else, by her inheritance. But there is a vacuum at the heart of things, and it isn’t just the loss of her parents in college, or the way her Wall Street boyfriend treats her, or her sadomasochistic relationship with her alleged best friend.

Blackly funny, both merciless and compassionate – dangling its legs over the ledge of 9/11 – My Year of Rest and Relaxation is a showcase for the gifts of one of America’s major young writers.


The book that everybody’s talking about… I read it and was entranced.

The Times

The superabundantly talented...Moshfegh’s sentences are piercing and vixenish… she is always a deep pleasure to read.

New York Times

This is the first book I couldn’t put down this year… Almost offensive with its close-to-the-bone truths, it’s shockingly relatable. And legitimately laugh-out-loud funny. Ottessa Moshfegh is sharp, savage and hilarious.

Isabel Dexter, Elle

My Year of Rest and Relaxation is whip-smart, continuously compelling, and acerbic in all the right ways.

Daily Telegraph

Electrifying... [Moshfegh] is adept at crafting compelling female characters who violate the rules of femininity... Moshfegh’s protagonist is an unlikely revolutionary.

Vanity Fair

A relentlessly savage fable of privilege and pain… While we’re laughing, we feel disgust. It’s a combination that makes for diamond-hard entertainment.


Darkly hilarious... [Moshfegh’s] the kind of provocateur who makes you laugh out loud while drawing blood.


[My Year of Rest and Relaxation is] a laugh-out-loud page-turner... it’s also the best 9/11 novel I’ve read.

Emily Wilson, Times Literary Supplement **Books of the Year 2018**

Moshfegh’s blackly funny new novel… [hits] multiple marks at once: as an art-school prank, a between-the-lines tale of displaced grief and a pitiless anatomy of gender injustice, it also offers… a dark state-of-America fable.

Anthony Cummins, Observer

Ottessa Moshfegh’s unnerving and compelling new novel, My Year of Rest and Relaxation… percussively hammered out in her flawless, rhythmic prose… concludes with a startlingly, unexpectedly beautiful passage… radical, urgent, and more painfully wise than perhaps we would like to admit.

Sam Byers, Times Literary Supplement

[Ottessa Moshfegh] has been hailed in America as a saviour of literary fiction... she specialises in anti-heroines who won’t jump through the usual hoops of womanhood... [My Year of Rest of Relaxation is] the kind of wickedly funny book you can tear through in an afternoon.

Evening Standard

Ottessa Moshfegh’s second novel is as arresting as her first… A study of alienation and dislocation, Ms Moshfegh's compelling novel is filled with warped desires and reckless pursuits, but also with wisdom and warmth.


An arresting, original read… [Moshfegh] has a singular instinct for the jangled interiority of loners and outsiders… a scoop direct from the places to which the human mind plummets in private… This is a novel of immense and yet very ordinary human sadness. That is a lot to achieve.

Irish Times

There is no doubt that My Year of Rest and Relaxation is a magnificent satire… As ever, Moshegh shimmers with intelligence and wit.

Peter Carty, iNews

Viciously funny… Moshfegh’s writing is as lethally efficient as a flick-knife.

The Times

Savage, funny, frequently on the verge of teetering into lunacy… [My Year of Rest and Relaxation] is a non-negotiable in your holiday carry-on this summer.


The boldest literary statement of passive resistance since Herman Melville’s scrivener famously declared “I would prefer not to”… [a] deliciously dark and unsettling modern fairytale.

Financial Times

[Moshfegh is] one of America's brightest and brashest literary talents—and My Year of Rest and Relaxation is another bold assault on the status quo.

Josie Mitchell, Prospect

This may be the finest existential novel not written by a French author… A nervy modern-day rebellion tale that isn’t afraid to get dark or find humor in the darkness.

Kirkus Review

I was cringing during every moment of Ottessa Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation, and yet I could not put the book down... Moshfegh’s protagonist is brutally dreary, and the brutality of her dreariness is often very funny, but the book is really... about the realness of a more subtle and very private expression of pain.

Paris Review

It's not often that I pick up a book and get a new favorite author. But that's pretty close to what happened... She’s the real thing.

Arts Journal

Both refined and depraved… My Year of Rest and Relaxation is a page-turner.

New Yorker

My Year Of Rest And Relaxation is blisteringly funny, perceptive, knowing and shows how so many of us lead disaffected, alienated lives even without becoming narcotic recluses.

Red Online

You’ll emerge from this darkly hilarious novel not necessarily rested or relaxed but more finely attuned to how delicately fraught the human condition can be.

Marie Claire

This is destined to be one of the summer’s most buzzed-about books.


Moshfegh’s ear remains as merciless as ever. Like a latter-day Flaubert, she delights in vanity and mediocrity, and in the absurdist heights both can reach whenever the occasion calls for a few sincere words.

Harper's Magazine

Moshfegh’s sly new novel is… a strange, compelling tale of existential angst.

Mail on Sunday

[The] premise makes me instantly want to reach for the book and hide with it for the next few hours.


[Moshfegh] delights in creating fiction…like a magician who performs her best tricks without any props.

Lucian Robinson, Literary Review

[With] deadpan, unembellished prose recalling the cadences of Joan Didion and the clear-eyed candor of Mary Gaitskill… My Year of Rest and Relaxation is most convincing as an urbane dark comedy, sharp-eyed satire leavened by passages of morbid sobriety, as in a perverse fusion of Sex and the City and Requiem for a Dream.

Joyce Carol Oates, New York Review of Books

Ottessa Moshfegh pulls off an unlikely premise, demonstrating once again the unsettling energy, daring plotting and biting observations that have earned her literary prizes and praise from the start of her career.

Clare McHugh, Time

Moshfegh’s managed to produce a funny, acerbic and captivating novel from both a heroine we ought to hate (a rich kid bored with the life of plenty) and a plot that’s almost tautologically sedate (nap after blackout after nap after blackout)… it’s invigorating… what raises this book above the masses is Moshfegh’s wit, her invention, and her unflinching eye for the grotesque; anything could happen to our narrator and we’d keep on reading, because Moshfegh would make it sound unerringly interesting.

Valerie O’Riordan, Bookmunch

Ottessa Moshfegh is a merciless comedian of vanity and frailty.

Alex Clark, Spectator

Intoxicating… [My Year of Rest and Relaxation] is the boldest literary statement of passive resistance since Herman Melville’s scrivener… It speaks to Moshfegh’s storytelling skills that an account of someone sleep for a year is as gripping as My Year of Rest and Relaxation reads.

Lucy Scholes, Financial Times

The writing is precise and hilarious, as well as disturbing and dark.

New Statesman

Moshfegh’s characters are often so funny in and about their unhappiness that we don’t want them to escape it, or not yet… My Year of Rest and Relaxation is written in multiple modes at once: comedy and tragedy and farce, blurring into one another, climbing on top of one another.

Anne Diebel, London Review of Books

A shocking, hilarious and strangely tender novel.

Jenna Rak, Glamour Magazine

I love this book. It's funny, I find it intriguing and Moshfegh has a dark voice. I started reading her and thought, 'This sounds like a female Bret Easton Ellis'.

Ellie Bamber, Stylist

Enthralling. The voice is compelling and witty, drawing one into the experience.

Shamika Tamhane, Cherwell Newspaper

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    May 21, 2019


    304 pages

    RRP $19.99

    Online retailers

    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Dymocks
    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    • The Nile

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Trade Paperback


    July 16, 2018

    Jonathan Cape

    304 pages

    RRP $35.00

    Online retailers

    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Dymocks
    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    • The Nile

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au



Whenever I woke up, night or day, I’d shuffle through the bright marble foyer of my building and go up the block and around the corner where there was a bodega that never closed. I’d get two large coffees with cream and six sugars each, chug the first one in the elevator on the way back up to my apartment, then sip the second one slowly while I watched movies and ate animal crackers and took trazodone and Ambien and Nembutal until I fell asleep again. I lost track of time in this way. Days passed. Weeks. A few months went by. When I thought of it, I ordered delivery from the Thai restaurant across the street, or a tuna salad platter from the diner on First Avenue. I’d wake up to find voice messages on my cell phone from salons or spas confirming appointments I’d booked in my sleep. I always called back to cancel, which I hated doing because I hated talking to people.

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