OTTESSA MOSHFEGH discusses her new short story collection HOMESICK FOR ANOTHER WORLD, with KRISTINE MCKENNA

Homesick for Another World (Penguin Press)

Ottessa Moshfegh's debut novel Eileen was one of the literary events of 2015. Garlanded with critical acclaim, it was named a book of the year by The Washington Post and the San Francisco Chronicle, nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award, short-listed for the Man Booker Prize, and won the PEN/Hemingway Award for debut fiction. But as many critics noted, Moshfegh is particularly held in awe for her short stories. Homesick for Another World is the rare case where an author's short story collection is if anything more anticipated than her novel. 

And for good reason. There's something eerily unsettling about Ottessa Moshfegh's stories, something almost dangerous, while also being delightful, and even laugh-out-loud funny. Her characters are all unsteady on their feet in one way or another; they all yearn for connection and betterment, though each in very different ways, but they are often tripped up by their own baser impulses and existential insecurities. Homesick for Another World is a master class in the varieties of self-deception across the gamut of individuals representing the human condition. But part of the unique quality of her voice, the echt Moshfeghian experience, is the way the grotesque and the outrageous are infused with tenderness and compassion. Moshfegh is our Flannery O'Connor, and Homesick for Another World is her Everything That Rises Must Converge or A Good Man is Hard to Find. The flesh is weak; the timber is crooked; people are cruel to each other, and stupid, and hurtful. But beauty comes from strange sources. And the dark energy surging through these stories is powerfully invigorating. We're in the hands of an author with a big mind, a big heart, blazing chops, and a political acuity that is needle-sharp. The needle hits the vein before we even feel the prick.

Praise for Eileen

"Eileen is anything but generic. Eileen is as vivid and human as they come... Moshfegh, whose novella, ‘McGlue,' was published last year, writes beautiful sentences. One after the other they unwind--playful, shocking, wise, morbid, witty, searingly sharp. The beginning of this novel is so impressive, so controlled yet whimsical, fresh and thrilling, you feel she can do anything... There is that wonderful tension between wanting to slow down and bathe in the language and imagery, and the impulse to race to see what happens, how it happens.”  -New York Times Book Review

“The attention that is now greeting Moshfegh’s first novel is not undeserved. Eileen is a remarkable piece of writing, always dark and surprising, sometimes ugly and occasionally hilarious. Its first-person narrator is one of the strangest, most messed-up, most pathetic—and yet, in her own inimitable way, endearing—misfits I’ve encountered in fiction. Trust me, you have never read anything remotely like Eileen.” -Washington Post 

“Her best work yet . . . What makes Moshfegh an important writer—and I'd even say crucial—is that she is unlike any other author (male, female, Iranian, American, etc.). And this sui generis quality is cemented by the singular savage suburban noir of Eileen . . . Here is art that manages to reject artifice and yet be something wholly new and itself in sheer artistry.” - The Los Angeles Times
 “Wonderfully unsettling first novel . . .  When the denouement comes, it’s as shocking as it is thrilling. Part of the pleasure of the book (besides the almost killing tension) is that Eileen is mordantly funny . . . this tale belongs to both the past and future Eileen, a truly original character who is gloriously unlikable, dirty, startling—and as ferociously human as the novel that bears her name.”-San Francisco Chronicle

“Charmingly disturbing. Delightfully dour. Pleasingly perverse. These are some of the oxymorons that ran through my mind as I read Eileen, Ottessa Moshfegh's intense, flavorful, remarkable new novel. ‘Funny awful’ might be another one. I marveled at myself for enjoying the scenes I was witnessing, and wondered what dark magic the author had employed to make me smile at them.” -NPR.ORG

Ottessa Moshfegh received the Plimpton Prize for her stories in the Paris Review, and was granted a creative writing fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts.  Her novella, McGlue, won the inaugural Fence Modern Prize in Prose and the Believer Book Award. Eileen won her the PEN Hemingway Award for debut fiction. Her newest collection of short-stories, Homesick for Another World, will be published by the Penguin Press in January 2017.  She currently lives in Los Angeles.  

Kristine McKenna is a Los Angeles based writer. Her biography of David Lynch, Life & Work, will be published by Random House in 2017.

Ottessa Moshfegh photo by Krystal Griffiths

Event date: 
Thursday, January 19, 2017 - 7:30pm
Event address: 
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Homesick for Another World: Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399562884
Availability: Not in stock. Available To Order.
Published: Penguin Press - January 17th, 2017

Eileen Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143128755
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - August 16th, 2016

McGlue Cover Image
ISBN: 9781934200858
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Fence Books - November 4th, 2014