Eileen is the dark side of us all that we choose to ignore. She is the angry, angsty, anti-heroine of Ottessa Moshfegh’s slick noir thriller.
Eileen lives with her abusive and unstable alcoholic father in a cold New England town. She hates her days working as an administrator at a prison for adolescent boys. She is wears her dead mother’s old fashioned clothes, purges her body with laxatives and indulges in mild stalking.
It’s not until she meets the beautiful Rebecca, a catalyst for change. I won’t spoil it by going on, but let me say that, in keeping with Eileen herself, what follows is disturbing and dangerous.
It’s an unusual, unique thriller. Not so much because of the plot- Thelma and Louise, maybe even Bonnie and Clyde did it first- but because of the character of Eileen. Her narrative voice is gripping, so casually revealing of the squalor that lies beneath. Her turn of phrase is funny and dark at the same time.
Like something revolting that you can’t help but stare at, she compels you to watch her until the very end, no matter how bleak.
Read: when you’re feeling some self-loathing or angst