An immorality tale: Lapvona, by Ottessa Moshfegh, reviewed

Has there been a better novel this century than Ottessa Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation? There might not have been. The book was a hit when it came out in 2018 and had a second wind during the pandemic, when readers found themselves ‘resonating’ with its cabin-fever plot. Not that there was much plot: the novel follows a beautiful young woman marooned in her New York apartment, where she mainly watches TV and pops pills like they’re Pringles. There’s more plot in Moshfegh’s latest novel Lapvona. We’re not in contemporary America any more but in somewhere like medieval Europe, and the characters aren’t ‘prettier than Sharon Stone’ but

The cannibal feast: Mother for Dinner, by Shalom Auslander, reviewed

Seventh Seltzer is a nice family man, working as a publisher’s reader in New York, who happens to come from a family of cannibals. Specifically, Cannibal-Americans. The Can-Ams are the most marginalised of America’s minorities, largely because of their funerary rites: when one of them dies, the relatives drain the corpse of blood and then eat it. How much of the corpse is eaten becomes a very moot point towards the end of the novel. Seventh is so called because he’s the seventh of 13 children begotten by his mother, known to them all as Mudd.A monstrous figure, 6ft 2in tall and grotesquely obese, she has been fattening herself up