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Excerpt from Homesick for Another World by Ottessa Moshfegh, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Homesick for Another World


by Ottessa Moshfegh

Homesick for Another World by Ottessa Moshfegh X
Homesick for Another World by Ottessa Moshfegh
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2017, 304 pages
    Dec 2017, 304 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Barbara Bamberger Scott
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Print Excerpt

A Better Place
A Complete Short Story from
Homesick For Another World

I come from some other place. It's not like a real place on Earth or something I could point to on a map, if I even had a map of this other place, which I don't. There's no map because the place isn't a place like something to be near or in or at. It's not somewhere or anywhere, but it's not nowhere either. There is no where about it. I don't know what it is. But it certainly isn't this place, here on Earth, with all you silly people. I wish I knew what it was, not because I think it would be great to tell you about it; I just miss it so much. If I knew what it was, maybe I could make something like it here on Earth. Waldemar says it's impossible. The only way to get there is to go.

"Waldemar," I say to my brother. "How do we get back to the place, to the thing, whatever?"

"Oh, you have to die. Or you have to kill the right person."

That's his answer now. For a long time he thought only the first part was true, but over time he's thought long and hard and figured out that there is a second way. The second way is much harder. I don't know how he figured it out, but thank God for Waldemar, who is so much wiser than me, though only a day older. I took some extra time to come out of the woman. I had doubts, even so early on, about this place here on Earth with all the dumb things everywhere. It was Waldemar who persuaded me to come out finally. I could hear his cries and feel his little fists poking through the woman's skin. He is my best friend. Everything he does, it seems, he does because he loves me. He is the best brother ever, of all brothers here on Earth. I love him so much.

"Well, I don't want to die," I tell him. "Not yet. Not here."

We talk about this from time to time. It's nothing new.

"Then you've got to find the right person to kill. Once you've killed the right person, a hole will open up in the Earth and you can just walk straight into the hole. It will lead you through a tunnel back to where we came from. But be careful. If you kill the wrong person, you'll get into trouble here. It wouldn't be good. I'd visit you in prison, but chances are slim that the right person will be sitting beside you in your prison cell. And the prisons they have for little girls are the worst. There, the only way to the place would be to die. So you've got to be really sure about the person to kill. It's the hardest thing to do, to be so sure about something like that. I've never been sure enough, and that's why I'm still here. That, and because I'd miss you and I'd worry if I left you all alone."

"Maybe I'll just die after all," I say. I get so tired of it here, thinking of how much better it is back there, in the place we came from. I cry about it often. Waldemar always has to soothe me.

"I could kill you," he offers. "But I'm not sure you're the right person. But wouldn't that be great? If you were?"

"That would be ideal!" I say.

I don't know what I'd do without my brother. I'd probably cry even more than I do now, and take poisons that make my brain weak and my body tired so I wouldn't even have the strength to think about the other place. I'd try to poison the place out of my mind. But I doubt that's even possible. Some nights I hate it here so much I shake and sweat and my brother holds me down so I won't start kicking the walls or breaking things. When I kick the walls, the woman gets angry. "What's going on up there, children?" She thinks we're fighting and threatens to separate us. She doesn't know about the other place. She's just a human woman, after all. She gives us food and clothes and everything, as human mothers like to do. My brother says he's sure the woman is not the person he could kill to get back to the place. I'm not so sure she's not my person. Sometimes I think she is. But if I killed her and I was wrong, I'd be sorry. Mostly I'd be sorry for Waldemar.

Excerpted from Homesick for Another World by Ottessa Moshfegh. Copyright © 2017 by Ottessa Moshfegh. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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