A lonely young woman working in a boys' prison outside Boston in the early 60s is pulled into a very strange crime, in a mordant, harrowing story of obsession and suspense, by one of the brightest new voices in fiction.
So here we are. My name was Eileen Dunlop. Now you know me. I was 24 years old then, and had a job that paid 57 dollars a week as a kind of secretary at a private juvenile correctional facility for teenage boys. I think of it now as what it really was for all intents and purposes - a prison for boys. I will call it Moorehead. Delvin Moorehead was a terrible landlord I had years later, and so to use his name for such a place feels appropriate. In a week, I would run away from home and never go back. This is the story of how I disappeared.
The Christmas season offers little cheer for Eileen Dunlop, an unassuming yet disturbed young woman trapped between her role as her alcoholic father's caretaker in a home whose squalor is the talk of the neighborhood and a day job as a secretary at the boys' prison, filled with its own quotidian horrors. Consumed by resentment and self-loathing, Eileen tempers her dreary days with perverse fantasies and dreams of escaping. In the meantime, she fills her nights and weekends with shoplifting, stalking a buff prison guard named Randy, and cleaning up her increasingly deranged father's messes.
When the bright, beautiful, and cheery Rebecca Saint John arrives on the scene as the new counselor at Moorehead, Eileen is enchanted and proves unable to resist what appears at first to be a miraculously budding friendship. In a Hitchcockian twist, her affection for Rebecca ultimately pulls her into complicity in a crime that surpasses her wildest imaginings. Creepy, mesmerizing, and sublimely funny, in the tradition of Shirley Jackson and early Vladimir Nabokov, this powerful debut novel enthralls and shocks, and introduces one of the most original new voices in contemporary literature.
©2015 Ottessa Moshfegh (P)2015 Recorded Books
I'm addicted to audiobooks, particularly thrillers and erotic reads. I'd love for you to follow my reviews!
I saw this book on a list of 9 great winter thrillers last year and added it to my library. I'm not sure it's really a thriller, and I'm not sure how it made that list. I knew it was going to be a character driven story, and it did entertain me to some degree, but I expected it to have a plot. By the time we got to any sort of action, what you got wasn't really enough to make the rest of it worthwhile. The action should have come earlier, and there was really no payoff for the reader at the end. Not sure I would recommend this one, but I can see how some people might enjoy it.
if I listened to books over again, I would listen to Eileen again... there is so much depth in her perspective that I think I might gain more insight into her. I really enjoy how she was able to look at her life and the world with such a sharp and jaded eye
I loved Eileen... she had such a sardonic outlook, such a deadpan approach to her sad circumstances, that I fell in love with her humor and intelligence
Alyssa's performance really made Eileen... she really seemed to be able to express her darkness so well.
If I had been reading this instead of using Audible I doubt I would have finished it. Eileen is fantastically written and there is some very deep characterization but there in lies the problem it is all characterization and no plot. Eileen whines, drinks, shits, and describes her period for 80% of the novel before we finally find out were the story is headed. A lot of people will say that there are no likable characters and that is also true though they are very developed. Maybe it's just not my type of novel I was hoping for a good mystery instead I got a very introspective life story of a girl whose only mystery is how she didn't shoot herself. (Not A Spoiler)
The Audible presentation was quite good though and will try Bresnahan's work in the future.
"Things Magazine calls it the next big thing!"
The author created such a vivid picture, I felt like I could see, smell, touch every aspect of this story. It's dark, sometimes putrid. But utterly fascinating and kind of voyeuristic feeling. Would highly recommend.
One master-passion in the br east, like Aaron's serpent, swallows all the rest. A. Pope
Eileen, the eponymous character, is one of the most pathologically pathetic and aesthetically repelling nudniks I can recall in the past decade or so of reading literature. In her wretched life as a guard at a boys' lockdown facility, she constantly thinks of sex with a co-worker and stalks him in her off hours. She lives with her sinister, tormented dad and her life is filled with ennui at her existence. A new female camp counselor comes aboard and Eileen develops a delusional crush on her, allowing her to manipulate Eileen into doing something illegal and immoral, but a something that, to Eileen's ghoulish delight, might take her away from the glum and gothic life she leads and possibly put her on the road as a lesbian fugitive.
The author shows a real talent at the perverted humor of Flannery O'Connor, and at pitch-perfect pacing in building an ominous atmosphere. Unfortunately, the conclusion of this black fable falls short of the author's fantastically feral foreshadowing.
And neither are you.
But as Eileen will show you, that condition does not prevent the rising to love, just as no given moral code can ensure the practice of justice or right.
You will see yourself many times over in this story, just as I did.
I loved Eileen. Hats off to Ms. Bresnahan for giving us her clear, true voice.
One of the most interesting and at the same time strangest story I've ever read. The performance was a perfect match--not sure I would've enjoyed this book as much had I read it myself (instead off listening to it). The character has a very strong personality and the narrator did an excellent job at portraying this in a tone that was relatable.
I was so disappointed and surprised because there have been good reviews written about this novel. I thought the story was ludicrous and the characters were unbelievable and uninteresting. It was really, really boring. Unfortunately we can't give a zero star rating.
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