book review

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

My Year of Rest and Relaxation
by Ottessa Moshfegh
Katya Mills‘s reviewFeb 12, 2021  ·  edit
liked it
Our antiprotagonist gets progressively mired in her chosen selfish sedentary life for a year. Like a life experiment with a careless interest in self-transformation, in NYC, 1999. She lies to her psychiatrist about her use of prescriptions for no apparent reason, as the psychiatrist has no moral or ethical compass to begin with, just a professional hiding behind a lot of jargon and bullshit. Ever met anyone like that? The character closest to real is her best friend Reva yet she is the most annoying and pathetic of them all. Materialistic. Superficial. Zero self-worth. Dependent on guys who use her. They both are. Maybe this is why they are friends. I liked the book, laughed a lot. Some very funny one liners. But not as much as Eileen. Maybe the main character was too sad and jaded. A product of her environment. Maybe it came too close to how life can feel in 21st century America when it’s at its worst. When you give up and are rich enough not to have any responsibilities, and you care but not really.

thoughts post publication

i got some distance and six months later went back to reread the latest book i wrote. TROUBLE’99. i read the first half on friday and the second half on sunday. i don’t think i would have changed much. i was really happy about the first half. the character development and the plot and the struggle and the setting were all crystal clear. dialogue was good. no typos or obvious grammatical issues. in the second half you saw an intensification of the problems my characters faced, both internal and external pressures mounting: socioeconomic hardships leading to sacrifice of values, addiction, conflict, suffering. a reader hoping for them to see a way out of their dilemma will be disappointed. they struggled to make enough money busking and selling weed to get off the streets. for them this was a great success. Kay freed herself from an unhealthy relationship with Aden. the hardships they all faced together clearly strengthened their friendships.

yes i allowed for a little light to enter the story, but mostly they marinate in their problems. i admit as a stand alone TROUBLE’99 fails. this book is intended to be the first in a series, so there will be a sequel.

my point in writing these somewhat dark tales of hard reality these past several years is to highlight very real social injustices. to give names and faces and make these people real. it’s so easy to walk down any city street in America and ignore a large segment of our population. to recoil and turn away from those faced with addiction and homelessness and great depths of mental illness and trauma. i know many readers read books to escape reality and go somewhere that fills the heart with joy. my books may not always offer that kind of escape. they may take you somewhere you never wanted to go. but if you are looking for an adventure of a different kind, if you are hoping to have your heart stirred with understanding if not compassion for the downtrodden and alienated among us, my work may interest you after all.   #katyamills

author profile k

Katya Mills is an Independent author from New England. She writes fiction set in American cities at the turn of the millennium. Her characters are lovers, dreamers, loners, scribblers, and latchkey kids.

She/they can be found on Twitter aka Vitamin K: “former latchkey kid and #indieauthor of Grand Theft Life and other novels. #lgbTq nonbinary and #counselor. i hold out hope for anyone with a #mh diagnosis: you are not alone.”

Her preferred tools of the trade are coffee and a chromebook, and a cat’s claw if needed to draw blood. She has a predilection for creative freedom. At night she morphs into a social worker. You can find her work on Goodreads, WordPress, and @ katyamills.com.

next book?

i’ve been considering my next project. my next book. i’m excited to say i unearthed a treasure of archive material on my drive, files some of which i previously had trouble converting, hundreds of pages of autobiographical material dating back to my twenties and early thirties, and all the adventures i had. life was going off the rails but it sure was entertaining. lots of stories and characters i otherwise would have forgotten. i’m excited to either remix it into fiction or semi-fiction. i could publish it as straight autobiography but it’s so much fun stirring it up and remixing. this has become my niche period, 1990-2010, and i hope to approach it from a completely different space.

Trouble’99 #wip

“I sat beside him in the freezing cold, and he asked if I could sing and I said no. Great, he told me, you got the job. When you recognize the song I want you to sing along. I started humming along at first and then begin by whispering them, the lyrics, then my whisper got a little louder. I still got quiet and shy with all the people rushing in and out during the heaviest of the commute times. He told me my voice sounded lovely next to his tired hatchet job on the guitar. We were a broken record of a different kind. If we could just be a little louder we might make some bread.”    —  Katya Mills

readers take

i shared my latest novella (not yet published) with three chosen readers, two of whom are authors, no nonsense types whom i felt would give it an honest appraisal. i got a call from the only one who finished and held my breath…turns out they liked it! they liked the rhythm and lyricism of the writing. the setting was clear. they cared about the protagonist and her friends. they found the character development to be solid. the plot kept them interested and the end left them wanting more. one of the areas i could work on, they suggested, is by limiting the time i spend in the headspace of my protagonist. they found these extended daydreams much less interesting and wanted me to get back to the storyline. i am grateful for this critique! with a little luck i should have my 6th title out on goodreads before the year ends. here is the link to my author page if you are interested: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7276703.Katya_Mills