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An Amazon Best Book of July 2018: Not a whole lot happens in Ottessa Moshfegh’s novel. If that sounds like a deal breaker, consider yourself warned. My Year of Rest and Relaxation takes place in 2001, when a pretty young Columbia graduate with an easy job at an art gallery decides to take a year off just to sleep. She has access to a quack psychiatrist willing to prescribe her an arsenal of pills, and she has money that she inherited from her deceased parents. She also has a terrible older boyfriend who works on Wall Street and a best friend, Reva, with whom she shares a thorny, complicated relationship.
That’s pretty much all the raw story material Moshfegh is working with—again, the goal being for the unnamed protagonist to hibernate—and the fact that Moshfegh keeps the pages turning, and turning rapidly, is a testament to her profound skill as an author. This is a mostly internal novel. It is insightful to the smallest detail, and it is darkly, insightfully funny. It shimmers with intelligence and empathy. No one in the book is particularly happy, but I am particularly happy I read it. – Chris Schluep, Amazon Book Review
Featured New DVD
The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, set in Romania, is a sad yet funny film that tells the story of an old man whom no one really knows or cares about. When he falls ill and needs medical treatment, he faces a team of busy doctors who are concerned because they have to be, not because they really care. We see how suffocatingly slow time must seem for Lazarescu (Ion Fiscuteanu), who isn't expecting the best treatment--just any treatment would be nice. With the exception of a conscientious paramedic, there doesn't seem to be much concern whether he lives or dies.
While noble and entertaining, series like ER & Chicago Hope offer less realism than The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, in which lack of funds and staff don't allow time for a suitable bedside manner. No one is vilified, not even some of the hospital staff that are disgusted by the side effects of their patients' illnesses. The story is told in a humane and mesmerizing manner that yanks at the heartstrings while still eliciting a laugh or two. --Jae-Ha Kim, Amazon review