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Rest for the wicked: why new talent Ottessa Moshfegh refuses to simplify desire

She's one of America's brightest and brashest literary talents—and My Year of Rest and Relaxation is another bold assault on the status quo

Ottessa Moshfegh has written a bold New York novel. Photo: Prospect composite

Ottessa Moshfegh (pictured) has written a bold New York novel.

Ottessa Moshfegh is drawn to characters unwilling or unable to keep to the rules. They refuse to wash themselves or brush their teeth; they binge on sex or substances; and they conceal their dirty habits from those around them.

In her first book, the novella McGlue, a brain-damaged, alcoholic sailor rolls around in the depths of an unknown ship, circling the possibility that he has killed his friend and…

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