Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh
As a rule I tend to avoid awardy books. You know the type of thing I mean, as they all tend to be roughly the same kind of thing -
- They are all entitled ’The xxxxxxx’s Daughter’ (insert slightly antiquated profession here).
- They are ‘literary fiction’ - Christ, it might as well say ’now with added fibre’ on the front cover, such is the worthiness. If it’s written by a man he will either be a) a priapic middle aged misogynist or b) a repressed, older, Irish gay man with glacier like emotions.
Anyway, I usually avoid a ’nominated/shortlisted for’ like the plague. Preferring to reread ’The Baader Meinhoff Complex’ or that book about Donald Crowhurst cheating at a round the world yacht race and going mad for the umpteenth time.
Anyway, ‘Eileen’ was kicked around the house and mein gott, what a great book. I don’t want give away too much, but it’s set in the 1950s, with an unglamorous, unlovely narrator who works in a sort of Boston Borstal. It owes a debt to Patricia Highsmith (but this is no bad thing, most books could be improved by having a bit more of a debt to HIghsmith). Highly recommend!
Jock and Connor are best friends (dress the same), do everything together (mostly stealing bikes) and terrorise the City of Cork. The jokes are thick as the Cork accents, and the boys themselves. It delivers a fantastic one-two punch of taking the piss one minute, and wearing its heart on its sleeve the next. An absolute winner!
Lizzo on Tiny Desk Concerts
The talent and loveliness of Lizzo is by now a universally accepted truth, much like the earth being round (wait, what??) and vaccines being a good thing (No? C’mon!). I dug this up recently for daughter no.1, who had never heard of NPRs Tiny Desk Concerts (essentially musicians playing a concert in the NPR offices). Lizzo’s is one of the best, and my favourite bit - When Lizzo scream sings “I will never ever be your side bitch” and a room full of female office workers Lose. Their. Shit.