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“It’s easy to tell the dirtiest minds – look for the cleanest fingernails.”

Eileen ~ Ottessa Moshfegh

This book is more of a character study than a novel, with the story or rather the action in the story concentrated solely in the last few pages of the book. Eileen Dunlop is a tightly wound twenty-four-year-old, who spends all her days wallowing in self-pity and self-loathing. She works in the local prison, holding no office of importance. She lives alone with an alcoholic father in a house neither of them have bothered to clean since her mother died five years ago.

Eileen is an extreme. We all dream of a better life, but she derives a certain thrill from her pitiable lot. She is preoccupied with her looks, her physical attributes…she obsesses over a coworker who she believes is the perfect man, and is infatuated by beautiful women. She thieves regularly from shops, drinks heavily with her father, rarely washes and ultimately; the reader will put nothing past her, not even a gruesome crime.

I found it easy to read, especially since I read it less as a story but more as a fascinating case study of a deeply disturbed individual.

Why you should read it:

  • If you like reading books driven by character rather than plot
  • If you like detailed psychological thrillers, or simply psychological studies
  • If you don’t mind reading ugliness on a page

Why you shouldn’t read it:

  • If you’re not prepared to look into the filthy, sexually repressive thoughts of a miserable woman
  • If you’re looking for an action packed read