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Ottessa Moshfegh  [ USA ]

Biography

Moshfegh, portrait
Copyright Kimiya Ayubi

Guest 2017.

Bibliography

McGlue

Liebeskind

München, 2016

[Ü.: Anke Caroline Burger]

Eileen

Penguin

New York, 2015

Ottessa Moshfegh was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1981 and grew up in Newton. Her father is an Iranian-born violinist and her mother a Croatian-born viola player. In 1998, she began her studies in English and creative writing at Barnard College, finishing with a bachelor’s degree in 2002. From 2009 to 2011, she completed a master’s degree in creative writing at Brown University.

Moshfegh’s short stories were first published in »The Paris Review«, »Vice« and »The New Yorker«. In 2014, she published the novella »McGlue«, which is set in mid-19th century Massachusetts and focuses on an alcoholic sailor named McGlue who is accused of killing his best friend. But McGlue can’t remember a thing, having recently suffered a skull injury after jumping off a moving train to avoid being caught riding without a ticket. Or maybe McGlue simply chooses not to remember. Moshfegh’s book explores the friendship between two men as well as society’s repression of homosexuality, the suppression of feelings and the fragility of existence. Although »McGlue« is certainly a historical novel, the questions it raises are nevertheless extremely pertinent today. Moshfegh’s debut went on to receive the Believer Book Award and the Fence Modern Prize in Prose. Her first novel »Eileen«, published in 2015, received tremendous critical praise. The story plays out in 1964, in the week leading up to Christmas. 24-year-old Eileen hates everything and everyone. She has to take care of her alcoholic and paranoid father, with whom she lives in a dilapidated house in a small New England town. Eileen works as a secretary in a juvenile correction facility. However, her dismal life is changed dramatically when cheery, good-looking and Harvard-educated Rebecca is appointed to be the new counselor at the prison. Eileen wants to be just like Rebecca and tries to become her friend – which comes at a high price. Eileen becomes complicit in a crime, which in turn allows her to break free from her claustrophobically obsessive and violent world.

»Eileen« was awarded the 2016 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. A feature film is in the works.

Ottessa Moshfegh lives in Los Angeles.

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