Do you like your sailor stories booze-soaked, murderous, and whittled to a sharp, graceful point? Do you like novellas so compelling you stay up late despite yourself, knowing that you're riding a beautiful train bound for certain doom? Do you like writers who have published in The Paris Review? I like all of those things, and this brutal, gorgeous tome made me feel empathy, anxiety, resilience, and despair in equal measure. For such a dastardly dude, McGlue stole my wary heart within a few short pages, and Moshfegh's prose had me sending out the literary bat-signal to all of my reader friends. Treat yourself, finish it in a day, then pass it on.
Selected for the inaugural Fence Modern Prize in Prose by Rivka Galchen.
"Short-fiction genius Ottessa Moshfegh's first novel is a gorgeously sordid story of love and murder on the high seas and in reeky corners of mid-nineteenth-century New York and points North. McGlue is a wonderwork of virtuoso prose and truths that will make you squirm and concur."--Gary Lutz
Salem, Massachusetts, 1851: McGlue is in the hold, still too drunk to be sure of name or situation or orientation--he may have killed a man. That man may have been his best friend. Intolerable memory accompanies sobriety. A-sail on the high seas of literary tradition, Ottessa Moshfegh gives us a nasty heartless blackguard on a knife-sharp voyage through the fogs of recollection.
They said I've done something wrong? . . . And they've just left me down here to starve. They'll see this inanition and be so damned they'll fall to my feet and pass up hot cross buns slathered in fresh butter and beg I forgive them. All of them . . .: the entire world one by one. Like a good priest I'll pat their heads and nod. I'll dunk my skull into a barrel of gin.
Ottessa Moshfegh was awarded the 2013 Plimpton Discovery Prize for her stories in the Paris Review and a creative writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She is currently a Wallace Stegner fellow at Stanford, and lives in Oakland, California.
About the Author
Ottessa Moshfegh is a fiction writer from Boston. Her short stories have appeared in Fence, Noon, Vice, The Paris Review, and various other literary magazines and online journals. Last year she was awarded the Plimpton Discovery Prize for her stories in The Paris Review, and the Modern Prize in Prose given by Fence Books, who will be publishing her first novel, McGlue, in November, 2014. She was recently granted a creative writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Holding a BA in English from Barnard College and an MFA in creative writing from Brown, she is currently a Wallace Stegner fellow at Stanford, at work on a new novel and a collection of short stories, and lives in Oakland, California.