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'This is a story about what might happen when a woman takes charge... A glorious visceral mystery' The Times
While on her daily walk with her dog in the woods near her home, Vesta comes across a chilling handwritten note. Her name was Magda. Nobody will ever know who killed her. It wasn't me. Here is her dead body.
Shaky even on her best days, Vesta is also alone, and new to the area, having moved here after the death of her husband. Her brooding about the note grows quickly into a full-blown obsession: who was Magda and how did she meet her fate?
From the Booker-shortlisted author of Eileen comes this razor-sharp, chilling and darkly hilarious novel about the stories we tell ourselves and how we strive to obscure the truth.
PRAISE FOR DEATH IN HER HANDS:
'Routinely hailed as one of the most exciting young American authors working today' Guardian
'A new kind of murder mystery' New Yorker
'Dark, devious' Observer
'A fine line between shocking realism and the absurd' New Statesman
'A brilliant off-kilter detective story' Evening Standard
'A beautiful novel' Sunday Times
Moshfegh's disorienting latest (after My Year of Rest and Relaxation) sends up the detective genre with mixed results. Vesta Gul is an elderly woman who has moved to an isolated cabin on a lake after her husband's death with only her dog, Charlie, to keep her company. Vesta finds a note in the woods that reads "Her name was Magda. Nobody will ever know who killed her. It wasn't me. Here is her dead body." But there's no body to be found. While Vesta does do some detective work (such as using Ask Jeeves to search "How does one solve a mystery?"), mainly her mind imagines Magda's life, to the point where the people Magda knew bleed into Vesta's own life. Moshfegh clearly revels in fooling with mystery conventions, but the narrative becomes so unreliable that it almost seems random, and readers may wish for more to grasp onto, or for some sort of consequence. 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.