Meet Eileen: Introspective, strange, and miserable. Set in the 1960s, Eileen is author Otessa Moshfegh’s second novel, following the critically acclaimed McGlue.
Eileen works at a prison for young boys, takes care of her alcoholic father, and doesn’t do much else. At its core, the book is a mystery-- we quickly discover (from our narrator, an older Eileen) that our main character is, in a week’s time, going to abruptly leave her hometown, which she lovingly refers to as “X-Ville,” but we have no idea why.
Eileen is a raw, honest portrait of a young, highly insecure (but also, somewhat witty and smart) woman. The novel is Hitchcock-esque with its slow-moving psychological suspense. Nothing really even happens in the first half of the book--it’s basically just Eileen’s musings. However, I found her obsessive thoughts engrossing, though, sometimes unsettling.
Everything about this book is dark, from the language to the setting—a bleak, colorless winter in a small New England town. But through the darkness, a strange humor ripples through. I found myself smiling at some of Eileen’s sarcastic comments, as well as oscillating between wanting to shake some sense into her and hugging her.
Recommended by Allie Charles