In My Year of Rest and Relaxation, the latest novel from the ferociously talented writer Otessa Moshfegh, the protagonist sets out to sleep through an entire year to get far enough away from her life so that she might have a chance at rebirth. “Mine was a quest for a new spirit,” Moshfegh’s unnamed narrator says near the end of the book. “At the end of my hibernation, I’d wake up — I imagined — and see my past life as an inheritance.” She sets out on her project using a series of increasingly strong downers.
To me, the impulse is relatable; the idea that the silence of deep sleep — and that alone — can remake you is compelling, not least because it requires (seemingly) so little work. But sleep and rest are different, and it’s possible…
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