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Home / Entertainment / In Ottessa Moshfegh’s new novel, nothing is certain. Did not even die.

In Ottessa Moshfegh’s new novel, nothing is certain. Did not even die.

Hand of death
By Ottessa Moshfegh

Recently, I have been watching an addictive show on Netflix about a rural town where children mysteriously disappeared. Evil forces emanated from the local power plant, where scientists hugged the children in isolation and experimented with them. The police officer in charge of the case intervened in person. Songs from the 1980s are outstanding.

You are thinking about “strange things”. No, this is actually a German series called “Darkness”. It has so much in common with American hit songs that I want to know if one of the shows can pay tribute to another after watching the first few episodes. But according to its creator, when “Stranger Things”

; came out, “Darkness” was already in production. They explained that the coincidence was due to borrowing similar influences, such as Stephen King’s novels and the culture of the 1980s.

may be. However, the phenomenon of artists putting forward similar ideas is always incredible. Elizabeth Gilbert, in her creativity guide “The Great Magic”, described a novel’s fruitless work over the years, until she gave up her close friend Ann Patchett’s proposal The book was learned only after almost the same plot. carry out. Gilbert preferred the view of the new era, and he thought that the idea jumped from her head to the day Pachette was embraced. However, even more rational people may wonder if something is not fully explained.

I want to make it clear that I am not accusing Moshfeg of stealing. She said she wrote “Death in Hands” five years ago and put it aside; as far as I know, she can’t read Polish. But I am curious about two smart, original but completely different writers-one is a Polish who grew up under communism and enjoys her status as a public intellectual, and the other is a Croatian-Iranian-American millennial, Somehow famous. Hermit-Come to write novels, so similar in plot and emotion. Perhaps some common source materials have infiltrated each woman’s consciousness quietly. However, they seem more likely to have the same concerns about the unsustainability of contemporary life.

Moshfegh wrote in the foreword to a series of short stories by Shirley Jackson, “My belief in the consistency of everyday life in reading is weakened”-this description may also apply to Mosfeg’s reader experience. Like Jackson’s role, Moshfegg’s protagonist (almost always a woman) is alienated, detached and refuses to abide by social norms-so it is considered a greater threat by those around him. Eileen, the protagonist of Moshfegh’s first feature novel, may look like “the girl you want to see on the city bus”, but her traditional appearance masks the disturbing Traits (she puts the body of the squirrel in the glove box of the car and likes to watch it break down) and creative violent fantasy In Moshfegh’s best-selling “My Year of Rest and Relaxation” in 2018, graduates of the Ivy League school kept themselves in New York’s apartments by continuously adding real and wonderful drug cocktails in response to their own insomnia. A drug prescribed by her psychiatrist, “Difermitrol”, better eliminated survival anxiety than “Prozac”.

Vesta Gul (Vesta Gul) is the protagonist of “Death in Her Hand”, occupying her place among these unresolved women. After the death of her husband Walter, she recently moved around the country and now lives in a remote hut with her dog. One day, he walked around in the woods and found a note: “Her name is Magda. No one will know who killed her. It’s not me. This is her body.” Except there was no body. Vesta took this note as a clue. She must find the murderer, otherwise Magda (for whom she developed the entire fantasy life) will be forgotten.

However, with the development of the novel, it is clear that the real mystery lies in how much Vesta said the reader should believe. Some of her characteristics seem harmless or even charming, such as her routine 600 bagels and a donut breakfast routine, or how she chooses books in the library: “If the name of a book listens It’s too general and too open. I think it’s a general book, so I think it’s boring. I hope my thoughts will drift too far.” But her thoughts did flow to unexpected and disturbing places. . She thought someone had stolen the seeds she had planted in the garden; she suspected that the neighbors conspired to rebel against her. When the screen saver on the library computer prompts her to remember her belongings, she treats it as a mockery. “My hands are shaking. What’s that I forgot? Magda? Is this you? What a strange responsibility to hold someone’s death in your hands.”

Vesta-we learned that who has stopped taking her anxiety medication-only needs some chemical balance? Did her grief over Walter’s death drive her crazy? Or is there a deeper and stranger force at work within her? The story of marriage slowly oozes from her, from idealization (“Of course, I share ideas with Walter”) to something closer to what actually happened. There are arguments, sexual issues, and infidelity. Now, she was thinking about their lives together. She wanted to know what the purpose of all this was. At a certain moment, a character appropriately called her “vine”: she was hung on the threshold between life and death, and did not belong to any world.

“How do people live as if death is not around them?” The line was taken from Moshfegh’s book, but it also included Tokarczuk’s important book. She is a passionate environmentalist, turning some of the same raw materials into a parable about human-animal relations and the destruction of the planet. Moshfegh sounded the relevant alarm, which was equally urgent. We may tend to treat Vesta as a lunatic, just as we might mock the woman’s ironic efforts to free her mind from suffering in “My Year of Rest and Relaxation”. But this masks how each woman’s situation in the past decade or so resembles that of a Western elite society: in a state of wandering, projecting our fantasies onto others, and using smartphones to slam dopamine to our brains Get treatment. At the same time, it is now more obvious than ever to see death around us.

Moshfegh’s latest report in this newspaper shows that Her detached story is very suitable for the moment of global isolation. But her goal is not to put us to sleep. Is to wake us up. Why don’t we pay attention? What are we missing? Should we start looking at the real world?

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