A triumphant blend of horror, suspense and pitch-black comedy, from the Booker-shortlisted author
While on her daily walk with her dog in the nearby woods, our protagonist comes across a note, handwritten and carefully pinned to the ground with stones. Her name was Magda. Nobody will ever know who killed her. It wasn't me. Here is her dead body.
Shaky even on her best days, she is also alone, and new to this area, having moved here from her long-time home after the death of her husband, and now deeply alarmed. Her brooding about the note grows quickly into a full-blown obsession, as she explores multiple theories about who Magda was and how she met her fate. Her suppositions begin to find echoes in the real world, and the fog of mystery starts to form into a concrete and menacing shape. But is there either a more innocent explanation for all this, or a much more sinister one – one that strikes closer to home?
In this razor-sharp, chilling, and darkly hilarious novel, we must decide whether the stories we tell ourselves guide us closer to the truth or keep us further from it.
**AN EVENING STANDARD BEST BOOK TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN 2020**
Ottessa Moshfegh's Death in Her Hands is a new kind of murder mystery... A haunting meditation on the nature and meaning of art... Death in Her Hands is the work of writer who is, like Henry James or Vladimir Nabokov, touched by both genius and cruelty. Cruelty, so deplorable in life, is for novelists a seriously underrated virtue. Like a surgeon, or a serial killer, Moshfegh flenses her characters, and her readers, until all that's left is a void. It's the amused contemplation of that void that gives rise to the dark exhilaration of her work-its wayward beauty, its comedy, and its horror.
Routinely hailed as one of the most exciting young American authors working today, she has been compared to Flannery O'Connor, Shirley Jackson and Charles Bukowski... Her work takes dirty realism and makes it filthier. But it is is also beautiful...the depravity of her material matched by the purity and precision of her prose.
Much more than a whodunnit... This is a story about what might happen when a woman takes charge; when she finds the courage to step away from the men who wanted to define her... A glorious visceral mystery... Moshfegh is as wise and wild as Ali Smith or Rebecca Solnit, and as gifted a scribe of nature as Annie Dillard or Thoreau.
Moshfegh is one of the most original and astute young novelists working today... Fiction, she suggests, isn't about timeliness or hot takes: it's about freedom... As ever, she creates and sustains a tense, uncanny atmosphere, in a world like ours but not quite.
Ottessa Moshfegh's postmodern whodunit...burnishes Moshfegh's claim as one of the most distinctive American writers around.
Many of us are adapting to spending more time on our own or away from loved ones. Luckily, it's a subject writers have been obsessing over for centuries. Here's our pick of writers who offer some comfort and interesting perspectives.
Join us at VINTAGE in a year of challenging ourselves to listen, hear and respond to some of the greatest female writers history has to offer. From Margaret Atwood to Mary Wollstonecraft, revisit your favourites, discover new voices and fill your bookshelf and your year with women’s voices. They matter.