Review of Lapvona by Ottessa Moshfegh

My ranking of Ottessa Moshfegh’s books.

1. My Year of Rest and Relaxation
2. Homesick for Another World
3. Lapvona
4. Eileen
5. McGlue
6. Death in Her Hands

Lapvona was midrange Moshfegh, in my opinion. It lacked the intimate first person perspective of her other works and possessed a cold, alien tone, making use of uncommon sentence rhythm, like the final story in her collection Homesick for Another World where two children interact in horrifying and malicious ways. She captures a palpable discontent throughout her body of work, but her suggestions about humanity’s past and future are unsettling, more clearly in Lapvona, with its aura of crushed innocence and ceaseless desensitization. It relies heavily on edgy subject matter without the simpering edginess of much modern fiction. Her language radiates from the setting and characters as naturally as that of classic authors like William S. Burroughs. Her voice is supple, but recognizable, even in this historical disguise.

I would prefer a return to a tighter focus and closer perspective in her next work, since she excels at these qualities, and when she pares her writing down to the essentials and takes us on a deep dive down the icebergs of human depravity, she is able to plumb relatable interior worlds with exquisite candor, as in her masterpiece MYORAR. Lapvona is a densely populated, frenetic nightmare.

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