A Year in Reading: Ottessa Moshfegh

December 1, 2015 | 1 book mentioned 1 2 min read

When I read Endless Love by Scott Spencer, I couldn’t stop talking about it. Why did it affect me so much? Because I was in a rut with love. While recovering from my own experiences, witnessing cultural demonstrations of “romantic relationships” had turned me off of sex and romance completely. For years, I chose to be alone, to find clarity, sanity, and to block out the preening idiots brainwashed into coupling up in order to fulfill some patriarchal and commercial expectation — brunch, orgasms, weddings, whatever… But “sanity” can become very monotonous. It can turn into “nothingness” after a while. So I think I was starving for Endless Love when I picked it up. Yes, the protagonist could be construed as delusional, criminal, and crazy to those of us more at home in repression and shame. But “love” isn’t a moral incentive to do nice things. Love doesn’t make any sense. Fuck sense. The human heart is psychotic. This book reminded me that it’s worth going a little insane from time to time. If I don’t, I may have nothing to write about.

If endless love was a dream, then it was a dream we all shared, even more that we all shared the dream of never dying or traveling through time, and if anything set me apart it was not my impulses but my stubbornness, my willingness to take the dream past what had been agreed upon as the reasonable limits, to declare that this dream was not a feverish trick of the mind but was an actuality at least as real as that other, thinner, more unhappy illusion we call normal life.
Scott Spencer, Endless Love

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is the author of two novels, McGlue and Eileen. Her collection of short stories will be published next year.