How do you even start reviewing a collection of short stories? Story by story? As a whole? Both? The Boring Index comes to the rescue!
“I’d been up on bad cocaine and drinking for days. I’d roped a few man back to my apartment and showed them all my belongings, stretched out flesh-colored tights and proposed we take turns hanging each other. Nobody last more than a few hours.”
Who wrote these?
Homesick for Another World was written by Ottessa Moshfegh, an American novelist. You might know her from her previous novel Eileen, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Before Eileen she already wrote a bunch of short stories for the Paris Review.
How many stories do I need to read?
There are 14 stories in this collection and the book is a little under 300 pages. The stories are the perfect length to read on a 20-minute commute.
What was the least boring story?
There are a bunch of stories I really liked, so it’s hard for me to choose a favorite. I think I would have to pick between Mr. Wu, Dancing in the Moonlight and the final story A Better Place. This final one is about twins, one of whom wants to go back to the place she came from before they were born. It’s told in a kind of fairy tale manner which feels eerie when the story turns out to be about killing a man who abuses young girls.
What was the most boring story?
My least favorite story was The Weirdos, which is about a woman who’s trying to rent out an apartment. Her boyfriend is an out of work actor who carries a crystal skull around and is terrible in many other ways. There’s a whole thing about shooting crows in this story that I just didn’t get, so if you did, let me know in the comments so I might appreciate this story.
Short Story Boring Index:
Moshfegh is a great writer. Her stories are little universes in themselves, the characters are always interesting and strange without going into quirky territory. The entire collection I marveled at her skill as a writer, the way she paints her characters through simple actions clearly proves that she knows what she’s doing. However, part of Moshfegh’s writing to me is also a kind of distance to the stories she’s telling. The emotions she covers are often universal, but I never feel sympathy for any of the characters. This might not be necessary, but I enjoyed reading this more as a writer than I did as a reader.
Review Copy attained through Netgalley with special thanks to the publisher Penguin UK.
Interested in reading Homesick For Another World?