Book Review / My Year of Rest and Relaxation

 
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Ottessa Moshfegh is really making a name for herself as a master of character study. This is my favorite of her work yet. She creates these characters that seem so unreal on paper but then brings them to live with her words. By the time you're halfway through the book, you start understanding the character's motives in a way you never expected to. 

In My Year of Rest and Relaxation, our narrator experiments with a year-long, drug-induced hibernation. Normally, this would seem like an incredibly dramatic situation, but Moshfegh somehow makes it feel... light and natural?

Let's be real - we've all felt the calling to hibernate for a year when life is too much. I felt a sense of satisfaction in the narrator's ability to plan out and implement her hibernation (regardless of the unhealthy means by which she attains it) because at its core, I think this novel is a reminder that sometimes, we all need to take a break and return to ourselves before we can carry on with life.

Thank you to Netgalley & Penguin Press for sending me a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review / Convenience Store Woman

 
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Convenience Store Woman is a charming novel about a quirky and socially inept character who defies convention, baffling everyone around her. 

When Keiko Furukura starts working at a convenience store during her time at university, she feels that she has finally found somewhere she belongs. She loves the predictability of stocking the shelves, counting out bills, and talking with regular customers. Pulling from the behavior of her colleagues, she’s able to piece together the appearance of what people expect of a woman her age. 

But eighteen years later, both her family and her co-workers at the convenience store wonder why she hasn’t found a husband and moved on from the store. As their questioning becomes more insistent, Keiko is faced with the decision to conform or to live the life she wants to live. 

Murata brings to the page a penetrating look at Japanese culture and the pressure many feel to conform. The woman she creates in this novel is a pleasure to spend time with. Looking at the world through her eyes offers a fresh perspective on tradition and expectations.

Rating: 4/5

Convenience Store Woman comes out on June 12, 2018. Thank you to Grove Atlantic for gifting me this novel in exchange for an honest review.