Monday, December 18, 2017

"Homesick For Another World"

This book of short stories by Ottessa Moshfegh is a series of snapshots of grim lives.  Some characters may seem normal to others but internally they are clearly troubled.  Their reality is one of monotony, ceaseless striving leading to no change by some, accepted despair by others.  Some of these stories have familiar backdrops and some could by anywhere.  Some involve regular life situations and others concern dire ones of homelessness and street life.  As the stories are read, that difference becomes immaterial.

The title of the book is informative.  Whether a longing for death or a hope for unreachable change, the characters do yearn for an exit of their preordained lives.  Moshfegh's first novel "Eileen" was commented on here in November of last year.  It had similar strains of misery but had patches of dark humor that worked.  For the most part, these stories lack that humor.  To even mention the word humorous when discussing these stories is a bit far fetched, in fact humorous.  Moshfegh's mind is opaque.

Differentiating the quality of the writing from the content is difficult.  Enter the water at your own risk.


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