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Moshfegh's speciality so far seems to be bodily excreta and alcoholics. You can't help but wonder why, and what it adds to the store of human happiness and wisdom. Well-written though, you can't argue with that, however mcgruesome it all is.
This book cannot be condensed to a review. It is definitely a book that is heavy with meaning between the spaces of its lines. It is difficult to explain what this book is about because it definitely feels as if its something that you need to experience. Moshfegh does such a brilliant job of making you feel as drunk as our unlikable and unreliable narrator that transcribed words can't do justice to the experience. I will give a warning that I feel that this is a book that requires multiple readings to get at the nuances that she is able to capture. I cannot believe she was able to add so much to a single character in only 145 pages. This was my book club's choice for February and when we all started the discussion we stated that we had disliked the book. As we continued to dissect McGlue, his interactions, his backstory, his relationships and his "voyage through the fogs of recollection" we found that there was so much to unpack and ended up really loving this book. One of my fellow book club members pointed out that Moshfegh got the idea from the story from an 1800s newspaper clipping about a man accused of murder. This was the spark for this novella. Definitely give it a chance. Moshfegh truly continues to create her own unique voice in this story. I had read My Year of Rest and Relaxation prior to reading this book and could see hints of how McGlue went on to inspire MYORR.
Everything I read by Ottessa Moshfegh makes me want to lose myself in her prose. McGlue was no different. It's a short read, but the snippets, like flashes of faulty memory after a long-drinking binge, make you feel like you've lived a life with the man. It's subtle and ever-deepening in its sorrow and strangeness and maddening darkness. The final section of the book almost brought me to tears and has stayed with me across the months since I last read it. Buy it. Now.
I bexame aware of Moshfegh by way of her short stories, first in "The Paris Review" and then in "The New Yorker". When she was in an issue of either, she blew whatever else was in its pages out of the water. I bought "McGlue" and her novel "Eileen" and, when I finally got a free second, started reading the former. It's a strange book that takes a few pages to accustom the reader to the jumpy, deliriously drunken prose. Once you get the hang of it you'll be soaring, feeling like you're reading what Beckett would have written after a Melville and whiskey bender. If you tend to like a more subtle, engaging type of fiction than what I've just described, check out her short fiction or (from the reviews I've read) "Eileen". She writes some brilliant, seemingly mild-mannered stories that end up featuring some weird and often scary characters engaging in questionable behavior. If you want to be sad and disgusted and elated and sometimes confused, read this one.
I read everything I can get my hands on by Moshfegh. However, I just couldn't get into McGlue. Interesting premise, but I found this difficult to read. The syntax and the language used were a struggle and I didn't understand the story. I couldn't finish this.
I had a hard time following this book or figuring it out, but I read the whole thing because this author just has a way with words. I've enjoyed other books of hers regardless and will keep reading anything she publishes.