Book Review – Lapvona by Ottessa Moshfegh

Review by Nick Jones

Author: Ottessa Moshfegh

Once in a while, you probably do something weird just for the hell of it. Maybe it’s a compulsion to see what something feels, tastes or sounds like, or perhaps you just let the intrusive thoughts get their own way for once.

I’m not here to judge. In fact, I’m here to recommend you a weird book.

Lapvona is one big “what?”. I get that sometimes people read a book and think “that would make a great movie”, but this feels like Moshfegh looked at a Bruegel painting and thought “Someone should write that”. It contains, but is not limited to, mute pregnant nuns, droughts that kill dozens, corrupt clergy, rape, a witch-like woman who wet-nurses a whole town and has stolen the eyes out of a horse, liberal use of the word ‘pubis’, physical deformity, bandits, and a weird little lord who thinks he’s divine.

I’ve used the word weird a lot, but honestly that’s the highest compliment I can pay this dark medieval fantasy. It’s weird, but knowingly so. Nothing really makes a great deal of sense, but I get the impression it’s not meant to, you just roll with it, have fun, and constantly find that the next page or paragraph will reel in bewilderment. I’ve honestly never read anything even remotely close to this, which despite everything manages to be both bleak, shocking, and absolutely hilarious. It’s depraved, debauched, disgusting, and thoroughly, intoxicatingly, weird.

And that’s something we could all use a little more of.

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