McGlue wakes up drunk and bloody in the brig of a ship. He may have killed his best friend. That best friend may have been something more. 118 pages of the worst possible hangover told in Ottessa Moshfegh's brutal, beautiful sentences. It's both a good hair of the dog and a pre-game slug in the liver, finish-able in a couple swallows.— Landon
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.