In 1987, Michael Jackson’s album Bad was released. Shortly thereafter, I acquired the vinyl record and listened to it over and over, with rapture, watching the record spin on the player in my bedroom and gaping at the sounds coming out of it.
Even as a girl who hadn’t yet graduated from elementary school, I had strong opinions about that album—namely, that it was great. There are no loser songs there. I still think that today, more than 30 years later.
In those pre-Internet days when it was difficult to preview music before buying it, I acquired many other albums that I would not describe as, shall we say, thrillers. Perhaps you, like me, remember hearing a song on the radio and buying the full album, only to be disappointed by every song recorded by the artist other than the one that initially charmed you into a purchase.
In other words, one hit does not a true artist make. I’ve found—not just in music but also in books, clothing brands, cliques of people, and card games—that one article is not enough for one to make a judgement call on the entire set, regarding either type or quality.
Have you ever shown up at a party where you know no one but the host, only to realize that you can’t stand any of the host’s friends, even though he or she is one of your favorite people in the world?
I don’t know Ottessa Moshfegh, but I think she has a cool name—which has been popping up a lot lately in the literary-type magazines I read. According to Wikipedia, she is from Boston, her mom is from Croatia, and her dad is Jewish and from Iran. I greatly enjoyed her novel My Year of Rest and Relaxation; I found it unique and interesting.
As this is the one and only work by her that I have read, I am having trouble conceptualizing her as an artist. Does she usually write about young, troubled women, circa 2000, who try extremely hard to sleep their lives away? I checked out all of her other books from the library. They are sitting right here: in a nice little stack. I would like to tear through them; but then, I have several other stacks of books lying around that are equally enticing, and I would like to tear through those, too. And then there are all the other things I need and want to do in life.
What good and bad experiences have you had in encountering a one and only representative—and then getting to know its fellows?