Lapvona: Book summary and reviews of Lapvona by Ottessa Moshfegh

Lapvona

A Novel

by Ottessa Moshfegh

Lapvona by Ottessa Moshfegh X
Lapvona by Ottessa Moshfegh
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About this book

Book Summary

In a village in a medieval fiefdom buffeted by natural disasters, a motherless shepherd boy finds himself the unlikely pivot of a power struggle that puts all manner of faith to a savage test, in a spellbinding novel that represents Ottessa Moshfegh's most exciting leap yet.

Little Marek, the abused and delusional son of the village shepherd, never knew his mother; his father told him she died in childbirth. One of life's few consolations for Marek is his enduring bond with the blind village midwife, Ina, who suckled him when he was a baby, as she did so many of the village's children. Ina's gifts extend beyond childcare: she possesses a unique ability to communicate with the natural world. Her gift often brings her the transmission of sacred knowledge on levels far beyond those available to other villagers, however religious they might be. For some people, Ina's home in the woods outside of the village is a place to fear and to avoid, a godless place.

Among their number is Father Barnabas, the town priest and lackey for the depraved lord and governor, Villiam, whose hilltop manor contains a secret embarrassment of riches. The people's desperate need to believe that there are powers that be who have their best interests at heart is put to a cruel test by Villiam and the priest, especially in this year of record drought and famine. But when fate brings Marek into violent proximity to the lord's family, new and occult forces upset the old order. By year's end, the veil between blindness and sight, life and death, the natural world and the spirit world, will prove to be very thin indeed.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[D]eliriously quirky...the narrative tosses readers through a series of dizzying reversals. Throughout, Moshfegh brings her trademark fascination with the grotesque to depictions of the pandemic, inequality, and governmental corruption, making them feel both uncanny and all too familiar. It's a triumph." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"At once immensely alien and deeply human, Moshfegh's latest is a brutal, inventive novel about the ways that stories and the act of storytelling shape us and articulate our world." - Library Journal (starred review)

"[T[he tone feels stiff and the story meanders. The Middle Ages provide a promising setting for [Moshfegh]...But the assortment of dim characters and perverse delusions does little more than repetitively expose the brutality of (as Villiam puts it) 'this stupid life.' A blackhearted but wayward yarn." - Kirkus Reviews

"No one is quite who he first seems in the latest wicked tale from macabre master Moshfegh...Sculpting an eerily canny fabular world of contrasts and evil, cartoonish cruelty, in her signature way, Moshfegh conjures a grotesque, disturbing story of gross inequality and senseless strife." - Booklist

"Moshfegh expertly creates a world with its own superstitions and laws, both timeless and topical." - Oprah Daily

This information about Lapvona was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Ottessa Moshfegh Author Biography

Photo: Krystal Griffiths

Ottessa Moshfegh is a fiction writer from New England. 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 and Death in Her Hands, her second and third novels, were New York Times bestsellers. She is also the author of the short story collection Homesick for Another World and a novella, McGlue. She lives in Southern California.

Name Pronunciation
Ottessa Moshfegh: oh-TESS-uh MAHSH-fehg

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