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 to the big city.
"Don't buy this book."
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.
The Christmas season offers little cheer for Eileen Dunlop, an unassuming yet disturbed young woman, trapped between her role as her alcoholic father's carer and her day job as a secretary at the prison. When the charismatic Rebecca Saint John arrives as the new counsellor at the prison, Eileen is enchanted and unable to resist what appears to be a miraculously budding friendship.