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Death in Her Hands Paperback – 1 August 2020
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Moshfegh is one of the most original and astute young novelists working today. -- Orlando Bird, Daily Telegraph
Routinely hailed as one of the most exciting young American authors working today... Her work takes dirty realism and makes it filthier. But it is is also beautiful...the depravity of her material matched by the purity and precision of her prose. -- Lisa Allardice, Guardian
Ottessa Moshfegh's Death in Her Hands is a new kind of murder mystery... The work of a writer who is, like Henry James or Vladimir Nabokov, touched by both genius and cruelty... Like a surgeon, or a serial killer, Moshfegh flenses her characters, and her readers, until all that's left is a void. It's the amused contemplation of that void that gives rise to the dark exhilaration of her work -- its wayward beauty, its comedy, and its horror. -- Kevin Power, New Yorker
Much more than a whodunnit... This is a story about what might happen when a woman takes charge... A glorious visceral mystery... Moshfegh is as wise and wild as Ali Smith or Rebecca Solnit, and as gifted a scribe of nature as Annie Dillard or Thoreau. -- Melissa Katsoulis, The Times
Ottessa Moshfegh's postmodern whodunit...burnishes Moshfegh's claim as one of the most distinctive American writers around. -- Johanna Thomas-Corr, Observer
[Death in Her Hands] cracks open like a matryoshka doll, revealing multiple tales within... Its dark, devious portrait of the troubled psychology of a lonely, stymied woman makes a mark all of its own. -- Lucy Scholes, Financial Times
[A] brilliant off-kilter detective story... An eerie, affecting read. -- Eithne Farry, Sunday Express
Clever, dark, funny... A gripping story. -- Susannah Butter, Evening Standard
There is an unspoken fascination in those we find abhorrent and Moshfegh writes these women with wit and intrigue, treading a fine line between shocking realism and the absurd. -- Ellen Peirson-Hagger, New Statesman
About the Author
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- Item Weight : 270 g
- Paperback : 272 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1787332209
- ISBN-13 : 978-1787332201
- Dimensions : 13.5 x 13.5 x 21.6 cm
- Publisher : Jonathan Cape (1 August 2020)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #83,374 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from India
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The story revolves around just incident wherein our protagonist, Vesta finds a note in the way while walking her dog, Charlie, where she comes across a dead body of girl named Magda. The name is as stated in it. It further says - Nobody will ever know who killed her. It wasn't the one who write the note.
The protagonist is obsessed with the note and totally clueless of what she's upto. Instead of revealing the note to the authorities she decides making a story about Madga.
As the story progresses, the reader is left wondering how reliable a narrator Vesta is, which parts of what she tells you are real, if any, and which are part of her narrative or the story she has invented in her head. No one's much aware of her, she has a fewer friends and less social life.
There are not many characters in the book which is odd and weird, which in turn ofcourse is the style Moshfegh specialises in but the narrative again has the same problem with less opinions or just glimpse of opinions of other characters. I hardly remember any other from that of Charlie the dog in entire story which made it frustrating at a point. Although the writing style is all anyone can read the book for the plot has some major problems in the book.
Top reviews from other countries
A clever and compelling story which captures the mind of a woman who has difficulty in differentiating fact from fiction and whose history is gradually revealed to the reader as she struggles to process what has happened to her - both in the present and in the past. Although I thought this was a compelling read and started and finished it in practically one sitting, I found it a rather troubling story and although darkly funny in places it was one that left me feeling rather unsettled - and the scene towards the end, involving an animal, was something I found very upsetting and although I can understand the author wanted something startling to demonstrate the unravelling of Vesta's mind, I feel sure she could have created something better - but obviously I can't discuss this further without revealing spoilers. So, in summary, a clever and thought-provoking story (and not a murder mystery as one might think by the blurb) but one that has left me feeling rather confused about how to rate it fairly by Amazon's star system - therefore I've given it three stars but I've changed my mind several times about the rating - whilst reading the book and even during the writing of this review - and may come back and change it once the story has had time to settle.
Vesta is an elderly widow who recently moved across the country. She purchased a former Girl Scout camp with lots of land. Charlie, a mutt she adopted is largely her only company.
She stumbled across a note during her daily walk in the woods, and she her mind goes on a wild goose chase., creating scenarios that have no basis in reality.
You get glimpses of Vesta's former life, her long and unhappy marriage to her deceased husband, Walter and so on.
There were glimmers of goodness here and there, but largely, I had to struggle to finish this. Not Moshfegh's best work by a long shot.