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Summary

The Christmas season offers little cheer for Eileen Dunlop, an unassuming yet disturbed young woman, trapped between her role as her alcoholic father's carer and her day job as a secretary at the prison.

When the charismatic Rebecca Saint John arrives as the new counsellor at the prison, Eileen is enchanted and unable to resist what appears to be a miraculously budding friendship.

In a Hitchcockian twist, her affection for Rebecca ultimately pulls her into complicity in a crime that surpasses her wildest imaginings.

©2015 Ottessa Moshfegh (P)2015 Recorded Books Inc

Critic reviews

"Fully lives up to the hype. A taut psychological thriller, rippled with comedy as black as a raven's wing, Eileen is effortlessly stylish and compelling." ( The Times)
"Excellent...a taut, well-written, and completely engrossing novel...culminating in a dynamite ending." ( Boston Globe)

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What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Fantastic reader made this good, wouldve struggled otherwise

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this myself but wouldn't think its everyone cup of tea. Not much happens and it's basically a monologue of self loathing. Being rather misanthropic myself, I like a miserable story, but if yr looking for excitement fairies sunshine love and unicorns you wont find it here. Having said all that I think it would be better read than in audio format, but this reader made such a good job of maintaining interest and texture , she has made all the difference. The ending is weak tho, I felt let down by that. And we need to know more of Eileen's later life other than she got rich.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Brilliant. And disturbing. And very repulsive.

Eileen is unpleasant. And no matter how well the book about Eileen is written (it is actually great), it does not appeal to me as a reader.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

compelling and immersive

I wasn't down with this to start (felt it was too wordy) but as the narrative progressed I became hooked and the pace of it made it very immersive. The character of Eileen aside, there are so many clever twists and turns and they were tied up in what seemed (to me at least) a very satisfying ending.

The narration is great - just the right mix of slow and enunciated. Moshfeghs writing has the reflective quality of Elena Ferrante (as well as its irritable sharpness) which was v well conveyed in the reading. I would recommend Hilary Huber's version of the neopolitan trilogy for any fans of this audiobook.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Great writing but a long wait for the action

The narrative voice of the protagonist is intense and compelling, the sense of an important message, unbelievable crime and a revelation that is to come runs through the entire book.
Eileen is shown with a raw honesty and an amazing ability of self-reflection and analysis, which makes her a marvellous character you want to know more about.
We learn more and more about her childhood, her current predicament and her job at the prison.
The story, however, tends to drag on, with long stretched with little action and a growing repetitiveness in the monologue as Eileen shares her inner thoughts and retells the story of one week before Christmas, when the arrival of Rebecca awakens something in her that had been dormant.
Many passages that seemed to be leading to the big crime and drama didn't go anywhere and I felt disappointed.
The long build-up evetually led to a let-down of sorts for me, I expected something different or more.
However, I must say I'm really glad I did read the story as the writing in many places is truly superb and Eileen and Rebecca are two characters I won't forget.
So judge for yourself. This is a book that cannot be dismissed, despite what I felt were weaknesses.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Strange but compelling

I didn't know what to expect from this; having listened to it, I'm not sure how to rate it.

I really disliked the main character, Eileen. But at the same time I felt sympathy for her situation, locked into caring for an alcoholic and demanding father whilst dreaming if escape. The plot isn't entirely plausible, but it certainly kept me intrigued and it's very well narrated. It's a complex exploration of the nature of love (and hate), mixed with hope and despair and reflection on opportunity.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A stunning book

A wonderful and compelling read, which starts mundanely enough with the gruesome detail of a desperate life and slowly creeps into a dark thriller. The twists and turns are at once subtle and shocking and hard to read, and the sordid day today grit of the life laid bare is all encompassing. The tension slowly tightens and becomes suffocating, and most striking of all is the bravery of having such an honest portrayal of a young woman with none of the graces and all the reality. This is stunning writing and I hope it wins the Booker!

9 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Didn’t enjoy

Found this book tedious. I listened in a relatively short space of time only because I was compelled to keep listening in anticipation of something actually happening.

When it did ‘happen’ it seemed too random & disjointed. I didn’t like the ending either.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

loved it

loved it, odd, original and addictive. If you like strange characters and want to know what happens to them read it.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Not Exactly What I Expected

I heard and extract from this book read on the radio. It sounded pretty good. I didn't expect the whole book to be exactly like the extract I heard. It's relentless. Superbly read, however.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • DK
  • UK
  • 23-07-17

Slow to take off

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

It was enjoyable.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The slow burning. Both good and bad.

What does Alyssa Bresnahan bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Not much

Was Eileen worth the listening time?

It was ok

Any additional comments?

Would have liked a clear resolution. It was not the kind of novel that benefits from loose ends.