R&R

by uzwi

It’s 2001. The central character of this hilarious, unremitting and cruelly intelligent satire of privilege decides to sleep a year away, in the hope that her life will have improved by the time she wakes up. Her plan works best–at least to start with–in the supply closet underneath the stairs at the New York “art” gallery where she works. “Every time I lay down in that supply closet I went straight into black emptiness, an infinite space of nothingness. I had no visions. I had no ideas.” She’s aware of the nothingness– “I was awake in the sleep, somehow. I felt good” –and it becomes her target state. Prescription drugs become its vector. Otessa Mossfegh’s observational skills are surgically accurate, her deployment of them produces effects on a spectrum from wry to savage; the picture she builds up is of a society so rotten to the core with privilege and self-involvement that it can only be ours. Expect a lot of ruffled feathers, projection and aggressive-defensive reaction to this book. Expect it to be brushed aside as unpleasant and needlessly negative–always a sign that the target’s been hit. Read my review of it at the Guardian, here.

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