Eileen (novel)

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Eileen (novel).jpg
First edition
AuthorOttessa Moshfegh
Cover artistThomas Ott
CountryUnited States
PublisherPenguin Press
Media typePrint (hardcover)
Pages272 pp

Eileen is a 2015 novel by Ottessa Moshfegh, published by Penguin Press.[1][2] It is Moshfegh's first novel.[3] It was shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize in September of that year.


The story concerns an unhappy 24-year-old woman named Eileen who works as a secretary at a prison, and what happens to her during a bitter Massachusetts winter in 1964.


  • Eileen Dunlop
  • Eileen's father
  • Rebecca, a co-worker of Eileen's
  • Joanie, Eileen's sister
  • Lee Polk, a boy in the prison where Eileen works


Overall, the novel received mostly positive reviews.[4] Writing for The New York Times, Lily King notes how, "Moshfegh writes beautiful sentences. One after the other they unwind — playful, shocking, wise, morbid, witty, searingly sharp. The beginning of this novel is so impressive, so controlled yet whimsical, fresh and thrilling, you feel she can do anything."[5] Similarly, Jean Zimmerman of NPR praised the author, writing, "Charmingly disturbing. Delightfully dour. Pleasingly perverse. These are some of the oxymorons that ran through my mind as I read Eileen, Ottessa Moshfegh's intense, flavorful, remarkable new novel."[6]

Moshfegh won the 2016 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award.[7]

Film adaptation[edit]

A film adaptation is in production, directed by William Oldroyd and starring Thomasin McKenzie and Anne Hathaway. Filming began in New Jersey in early 2022.[8]



  1. ^ Zimmerman, Jean (23 August 2015). "'Eileen' Is Dark, Damaged Fun". NPR. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  2. ^ P. Sullivan, Kevin (14 August 2015). "Eileen". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  3. ^ Kiesling, Lydia (20 August 2015). "Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh review – an odd double of Plath's Bell Jar". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  4. ^ "Book Marks reviews of Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh". Book Marks. Retrieved 2022-08-08.
  5. ^ King, Lily (14 August 2015). "'Eileen,' by Ottessa Moshfegh". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  6. ^ Zimmerman, Jean (2015-08-23). "'Eileen' Is Dark, Damaged Fun". NPR. Retrieved 2022-08-08.
  7. ^ Mark Shanahan (March 16, 2016). "Newton's Ottessa Moshfegh wins 2016 PEN/Hemingway Award". Boston Globe. Retrieved June 22, 2016.
  8. ^ "Anne Hathaway and Thomasin McKenzie team up for Eileen". Cinema Express.
  9. ^ Alice (September 13, 2016). "Man Booker Prize announces 2016 shortlist". Man Booker. Retrieved July 27, 2016.