A young woman is sleeping. Can a book be made with this basic idea? - My year of rest and relaxation from Ottessa Moschfegh

A young woman in her mid-20s decides to take a year to relax and rest. Without a valid reason, without a real liberating force, without a specific event, she falls into a “hibernation”. At first I was quite sceptical, whether this setting could be used to develop into a novel worth reading, whether it could become a book? I was even convinced otherwise. But, oh, yes, what a book it can become! In a brilliant way, Ottessa Moschfegh managed to paint the great social picture of the early 2000s.

“The idea that I could make my way to a new life this way was crazy. Absurd!”

The main character lives with this idea in its infancy, develops it, ambitiously plans a project and realizes it.

Everything is prepared. All costs are covered. All bills for one year are paid in advance. From the beginning, she finds a mediocre, irresponsible and lunatic doctor/psychotherapist, who is willing to prescribe her sleeping pills. Everything is thought out. Her goal is to become a new person. She just wants to sleep, to escape from reality, to break away from it, from everyday life. She doesn’t watch the news, she doesn’t read magazines. She protects herself from the darkness of the present that hangs over all of us.

“That way I could stay away from the world until the end of my vacation year.”

Five or six months after the start of the project, white spots and blackouts appear. She goes to sleep, does things she can’t explain to herself. She feels the need to rethink the plan and change the schedule. To what extent? Will everything work out in the end? We do not want to give it out at this point. 

This novel is a wake-up call. It represents an empty and superficial society that makes us slaves to the demands of the times and makes us victims of consumerism. They put labels on us, assign us roles to fit in, and keep us from escaping. It stuffs us in drawers.

A young woman is sleeping. Can a book be made with this basic idea? - My year of rest and relaxation from Ottessa Moschfegh

The best example is the heroine herself. She comes from a wealthy family and lives in an expensive neighbourhood. She graduated from a prestigious university and immediately found a good job in a modern art gallery. She is beautiful and aware of her beauty and its impact. She knows how to use it. But she is tired of being degraded only to her beauty.

“My appearance made me a prisoner of a world in which appearance was more important than anything else.”

Even at work, she is reduced to her appearance, which is unusual, especially since her boss has succeeded as a businesswoman and a woman of colour.

“I was there to be watched. Hippie decoration. I was the girl sitting behind the counter at the entrance, ignoring you when you entered the gallery, the serious beauty at the front desk who wore cool avant-garde outfits.”

It is this mental emptiness of society and of the narrator’s generation that is demonstrated here.

How we suffer from the views of the public and what it causes us is embodied in the image shown, the girlfriend of the main character of Reva. She is the only one who passes by from time to time. Reva comes from a not-so-well-placed family with Jewish roots. She succumbs to the critical view of society and others and wants to belong to the table and do everything possible to look good and, of course, modern, to meet the ideal of harmony, to be successful, to look confident, to be up to date. For this she pays a high price.

A young woman wants to escape from the world, from everyday life, to be ready to reach the depths of her essence, to take this risk for herself (stimulants, experimental sleeping pills, etc.). From all this stands out the pressure that society puts on us to be perfect, to be at the top of our capabilities at work, always ready to give more than 100% of ourselves, our appearance must be perfect as Kate Moss or depending on which influencer is current at the moment, we should do our best despite personal losses and not allow ourselves to grieve. Isn’t it horrible? Under this pressure we lose ourselves. Who are we? We lose touch with who we are.

In any case, we do not recommend this project to be imitated!!! But the movie tips in this book are definitely recommended!

As long as our sources are true, the novel will be published in Bulgaria this year. But that will be the book of 2021.

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