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Homesick for Another World by Ottessa Moshfegh
Short stories

Homesick for Another World

by Ottessa Moshfegh

Quick take

By bringing us so deeply into her characters' heads, Moshfegh transmutes disgust into love, or, if not love exactly, the next best thing to love'”understanding.

Why I love it

Though I try to fight it, at heart I’m a New England prude. So by all rights Ottessa Moshfegh’s writing should make me deeply uncomfortable: In her story collection Homesick for Another World, Moshfegh writes of seedy loners and proud creeps, giving us brilliant insight into the inner lives of some seriously unpleasant people.

And uncomfortable it did make me, but 1) honestly, that’s a good thing, and 2) the other feeling I experienced alongside discomfort was pure freaking pleasure. It’s the pleasure you feel when you discover a genuinely special voice, when just a few sentences into a story you know you’re reading a writer who could never be mistaken for anyone else'”a hilarious writer, a terrifying writer, a writer who’s keenly aware that the everyday is also the setting for the outrageous, the surreal. That’s Ottessa Moshfegh.

Even as the characters in _Homesick for Another World_ repelled me, they drew me in. Though they are perverted, delusional, even sometimes hateful'”you name it'”it was not as a car-crash rubbernecker that I avidly read about them. Rather, by bringing us so deeply into her character’s heads, unfiltered and honest, yet in prose that is cool and clean, Moshfegh transmutes disgust into love, or, if not love exactly, the next best thing to love in fiction'”understanding. Allowing these characters the gift of being seen clearly.

After all, when Moshfegh writes of the weird, disgusting, pointless things we do with our bodies when we’re alone, the horrifying thoughts we have in passing, of all the times we were bad or lazy instead of good and brave, she’s writing about essential aspects of humanity. It’s us. We’re not all heroes always; we all have moments where we’re not fit to be seen or heard.

And accordingly, the moments of grace, compassion, and connection in _Homesick for Another World_ feel all the more precious. In life we can only treasure what is good and try to make more of it. But, also, all we have is what we have. One of those things is this incredible collection of stories. Here you go.

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Member ratings (2,051)

  • Darian D.

    Missoula, MT

    Vignettes of unusual people— brief glimpses into bizarre lives and problems. Some, very solemn. Others, humorous. And then, those which impart only this profound feeling of complete, utter blankness.

  • Emily M.

    Duluth, MN

    Pretty great, though slightly repetitive themes and ideas throughout each story - perhaps the point but felt more like an author's obsession, not deliberate. Read this in a day, which is rare for me.

  • Ashley F.

    Rancho Cordova, CA

    Hit all my high notes...deeply flawed characters, honest, raw storytelling, and slivers of hope throughout. One story in particular was so unexpectedly beautiful, it'll stick with me for a long time.

  • Brenna E.

    Silver Spring, MD

    At first I wasn't sure this book would be of any interest to me as I started reading but I gave it a chance and as I read further I got more interested in it. It's only fragments of life but very cool

  • DAnne M.

    Scottsdale , AZ

    We all have known someone like the ones in the book which makes them relateable. We struggle to find places to fit in. The situations we find ourselves in can make life a struggle and wish elsewhere.