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Death in Her Hands: Book summary and reviews of Death in Her Hands by Ottessa Moshfegh

Death in Her Hands

by Ottessa Moshfegh

Death in Her Hands by Ottessa Moshfegh X
Death in Her Hands by Ottessa Moshfegh
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  • Published in USA  Aug 2020
    272 pages
    Genre: Thrillers

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Book Summary

From one of our most ceaselessly provocative literary talents, a novel of haunting metaphysical suspense about an elderly widow whose life is upturned when she finds an ominous note on a walk in the woods.

While on her daily walk with her dog in a secluded woods, a woman comes across a note, handwritten and carefully pinned to the ground by stones. "Her name was Magda. Nobody will ever know who killed her. It wasn't me. Here is her dead body." But there is no dead body. Our narrator is deeply shaken; she has no idea what to make of this. She is new to this area, alone after the death of her husband, and she knows no one.

Becoming obsessed with solving this mystery, our narrator imagines who Magda was and how she met her fate. With very little to go on, she invents a list of murder suspects and possible motives for the crime. Oddly, her suppositions begin to find correspondences in the real world, and with mounting excitement and dread, the fog of mystery starts to fade into menacing certainty. As her investigation widens, strange dissonances accrue, perhaps associated with the darkness in her own past; we must face the prospect that there is either an innocent explanation for all this or a much more sinister one.

A triumphant blend of horror, suspense, and pitch-black comedy, Death in Her Hands asks us to consider how the stories we tell ourselves both reflect the truth and keep us blind to it. Once again, we are in the hands of a narrator whose unreliability is well earned, and the stakes have never been higher.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[T]roubling and moving...An eerie and affecting satire of the detective novel." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Cleverly unraveling, linguistically brilliant, and limning the limits of reality, [Death in Her Hands] will speak to fans of literary psychological suspense." - Booklist

"There's an intriguing idea at the center of this about how the mind can spin stories in order to stay alive, but the novel lacks the devious, provocative fun of Moshfegh's other work, and is messy enough to make readers wonder what exactly to make of it." - Publishers Weekly

"This unnerving latest from Moshfegh offers a truly creepy murder mystery while commenting on our relationship to the genre itself." - Library Journal

"No one's work inspires better discussion than Ottessa Moshfegh's. It seems that for every person who loves her work, there's someone who completely disagrees—which is, in my opinion, one of the best things about reading. Her latest is a sinister tale of an elderly widow who finds a distressing note pinned to a tree near her new neighborhood." - Bookpage

"This is part crime thriller, part dark comedy, and totally delightful." - Good Housekeeping

"If her latest novel is subtler than her most recent works, it's just as chilling — it could be a jumping-off point for new readers...The narrator's dark fantasies and less-than-pure thoughts work especially well if you think of Death in Her Hands as a sequel to Moshfegh's deliciously gross and grotesque debut novel, Eileen." - Vulture

"Perhaps the most jarring genre of fiction is the kind that takes you deep into the gradual unraveling of a person's mind. Moshfegh does a masterful job with Death In Her Hands, which follows a protagonist who believes she's solving a murder. The book moves seamlessly from suspenseful to horrifying, retaining the reader's attention all the while." - Marie Claire

The information about Death in Her Hands shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Ottessa Moshfegh Author Biography

Photo: Krystal Griffiths

Ottessa Moshfegh is a fiction writer from New England. Her first book, McGlue, a novella, won the Fence Modern Prize in Prose and the Believer Book Award. She is also the author of the short story collection Homesick for Another World. Her stories have been published in The Paris Review, The New Yorker, and Granta, and have earned her a Pushcart Prize, an O. Henry Award, the Plimpton Discovery Prize, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Eileen, her first novel, was shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Man Booker Prize, and won the PEN/Hemingway Award for debut fiction; My Year of Rest and Relaxation, her second novel, was a New York Times bestseller.

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