Having enjoyed Moshfegh’s most recent novel, the sublimely weird, My Year of Rest and Relaxation, I was keen to see if her earlier novel had the same black humour and sense of the absurd. Our protagonist, Eileen, is a receptionist at a boys’ prison in the 1950s and when she isn’t working her soul-crushing desk job, she takes care of her cruel, alcoholic father and nurses a secret sense of grievance. When the educated and glamorous Rebecca joins the staff of the prison, Eileen will do anything to earn her friendship and escape from her dreary existence – even kill. Mixing intriguing twists and turns with a sardonic wit, this novel has an edge of Hitchcockian noir I didn’t expect but definitely savoured.
Meghan Casey (Staff) (Queen's Square Library)