An electrifying first collection from one of the most exciting short story writers of our time
Ottessa Moshfegh's debut novel Eileen was one of the literary events of 2015. Garlanded with critical acclaim, it was named a book of the year by The Washington Post and the San Francisco Chronicle, nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award, short-listed for the Man Booker Prize, and won the PEN/Hemingway Award for debut fiction. But as many critics noted, Moshfegh is particularly held in awe for her short stories. Homesick for Another World is the rare case where an author's short story collection is if anything more anticipated than her novel.
And for good reason. There's something eerily unsettling about Ottessa Moshfegh's stories, something almost dangerous, while also being delightful, and even laugh-out-loud funny. Her characters are all unsteady on their feet in one way or another; they all yearn for connection and betterment, though each in very different ways, but they are often tripped up by their own baser impulses and existential insecurities. Homesick for Another World is a master class in the varieties of self-deception across the gamut of individuals representing the human condition. But part of the unique quality of her voice, the echt Moshfeghian experience, is the way the grotesque and the outrageous are infused with tenderness and compassion. Moshfegh is our Flannery O'Connor, and Homesick for Another World is her Everything That Rises Must Converge or A Good Man is Hard to Find. The flesh is weak; the timber is crooked; people are cruel to each other, and stupid, and hurtful. But beauty comes from strange sources. And the dark energy surging through these stories is powerfully invigorating. We're in the hands of an author with a big mind, a big heart, blazing chops, and a political acuity that is needle-sharp. The needle hits the vein before we even feel the prick.
Named on the best books of the year by The New York Times - GQ - A.V Club
"Dark, confident, prickling stories . . . . Moshfegh uses ugliness as if it were an intellectual and moral Swiss Army knife . . . Her stories veer close to myth in a manner that can resemble fiction by the English writer Angela Carter. There's some Flannery O'Connor, Harry Crews and Katherine Dunn in her interest in freaks and quasi-freaks . . . At her best, she has a wicked sort of command. Sampling her sentences is like touching a mildly electrified fence. There is a good deal of humor in "Homesick for Another World," and the chipper tone can be unnerving. It's like watching someone grin with a mouthful of blood." - Dwight Garner, New York Times
"A fluent, deeply talented artist . . . Moshfegh quickly established herself as an important new voice in the literary world, and her concerns for those isolated not only in the margins of society but within the physical confines of the body itself mirrored the work of brilliant predecessors like Mary Gaitskill, Christine Schutt and, in some ways, Eileen Myles. Homesick for Another World continues that exploration but with a wider range, over a larger landscape. It's a paradox that in order to locate a sense of national character-and that ever-elusive American dream-art must continually probe the places where that dream seems to have all but disappeared." -The New York Times Book Review
"On second and third reading, these stories reveal coils of plain language and quick narratives tight as songs. What is at first urgent and disorienting becomes a hymn, improving with repetition, all of it worth memorizing." -Village Voice
"[A] stunning debut short story collection . . . Moshfegh displays a preternatural ability in short fiction, her stories impeccably shaped, her sentences sharp, and her voice controlled and widely confident; the stories of Homesick For Another World are near perfect examples of the form . . . What makes the pieces composing Homesick so thrilling, in addition to their technical inscrutability, is their ability to surprise-with their ferocity, depravity, and casual violence, with their very ability to so consistently unsettle . . . Amid the collection's dark tone, Moshfegh imbues an equally dark humor, at times absurd, at others melancholy and bone-dry . . . If you're the kind of person who laughs when the grandma gets axed in "A Good Man Is Hard To Find," you'll be right at home in Homesick." -AV Club
"Ottessa Moshfegh's story collection, "Homesick for Another World," couldn't come at a better time. Notions of class and power are in an unpredictable flux. A new elite rises, flipping the deck into the air. Nobody knows where the cards will land. So here comes Moshfegh, whose imaginative writing about train-wreck characters, rich and poor, adheres to a relentlessly dim worldview where a divided America comes together in the muck . . . The best stories in the collection, however, contain memorable, conflicting images of squalor and beauty, chaos and pattern." - Associated Press
"All psychologically astute, astringently funny and wonderfully entertaining." - Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Startling and impressive new short story collection. . . Despite her unsparing dissection of their paranoias, fetishes, and failings, Moshfegh doesn't condescend to her characters; she is both gimlet-eyed and compassionate . . . there is both piercing wit and unexpected poignancy to be found in Moshfegh's original and resonant collection." -Boston Globe
"The characters in this collection are an unlovely bunch but make for an irresistible read . . . Moshfegh - a Boston-born, Los Angeles-based writer whose Man Booker-shortlisted novel Eileen (2016) infused the same sensibility into a witty, skillfully told suspense story - has other tones and tricks at her command. She writes terrific, attention-grabbing openings, and impactful last lines that don't strain for a lapidary effect. Her damaged-girl deadpan snark is second to none . . . the authority of her storytelling