The meditation on religion is interesting and somewhat nuanced, but I feel like the novel could do with a few portrayals of peaceful or joyous ecstasy and the eroticism of the divine. Most of the focus on religion was as a force for evil and lingered on its preoccupation with suffering and sad passions. That’s fine, but in a book so preoccupied with suffering and bleakness, a few more reprieves would have made the overall reading experience much more compelling and made the theme of faith much more developed and well-rounded. It would have increased the depth of the novel I feel and made it much more representative of medieval Christianity.
This book was graphic and unsettling, living up to Moshfegh’s reputation, but I found its characters and story absolutely fascinating. The characters were unlike any I have ever read, and the bits of fantasy tucked in were unexpected but really added to the story. This book is unlike any other I have read and has stuck with me weeks after reading it. Our library patrons will enjoy this one.
This is a wholly original book, unlike any other historical fiction or horror novel I've read. I have no idea how to summarize it. It was gross and disturbing, but also interesting and captivating. The point was made, the work is unique, the whole thing is hard to get through because it is so nasty. I am glad I read it, but I'll never pick it up again.
If you have read Moshfegh before and you know what you're getting into, pick this one up. If you haven't, go take out Eileen or My Year of Rest and Relaxation first.
I'm the wrong audience for Moshfegh, I think. I vehemently disliked My Year of Rest and Relaxation, and Lapvona didn't improve my opinion of her style. She's smart and has a dark side (both which I would normally go for), but I find her lack of wit in this one entirely off-putting. I won't be picking up any future books from her.
Ottessa Moshfegh, the author of My Years of Rest and Relaxation, invites the reader to Lapvona, a fictional medieval village dominated by animalistic human nature and primitiveness, even though it appears to be living within the framework of divine protection and civilization. Marek, a delusional young man abused by his shepherd father, and Ina, a blind midwife who has nursed village children for decades, make a decision that changes the fate of the village amidst the whirlwinds and devastation of an incomprehensible life. As Lapvona changes from spring through harsh summers and autumn winter back to spring, the reader will see the vile characters Moshfegh has envisioned from our time to uncanny magnificence, as well as plagues, tricks, and murders. Through the actions of the characters who constantly talk about God and justify their sins, it is a novel that makes you think once again about why God, the creator, and savior, must exist, not a man-made God who does not have power in the world. I would recommend it to readers and groups who have been exposed to Moshfegh's other novels or are discussing literary fiction.
Moshfegh can do no wrong in my opinion. This book is a must read for fans of the movie The Witch. I found it hard to put down and loved it for the Halloween season coming up. The perfect book for fall weather I will recommend it to my readers if they're in search of a great atmospheric book.
This was an interesting read. I remember that BookTok was talking about one book only- Lapvona.
Set in a fictional medieval village, Lapvona, the book explores human depravity and corruption at all levels. Familial, religious, and within power structures. How evil and sinister can one be to their family and neighbors, provoked or unprovoked?
This book is grotesque and upsetting, just how you want it to be. The language is not flowery or overly descriptive, which is a godsend considering the situations that unfold in this story.
The bottom line is that all humans have the capacity for truly grievous acts.
Moshfegh's prose did not disappoint once again. My eyes were glued to the page to find out what insane thing happened next. I do feel as if the ending could have been a little more fleshed out, but it didn't stop me from enjoying the ride.
I'm an Ottessa Moshfegh apologist, though I recognize her writing style isn't for everyone. This one was different from Moshfegh's previous works -- much, much darker, but similarly hypnotizing. Look up trigger warnings before reading this one.
This felt like quite a severe departure from Moshfegh’s previous work and while it did not click with me personally, I am interested to see how the trajectory of her work continues to develop. This book was deeply absurd and disturbing but I was certainly compelled to keep reading to see what depraved places the author would take me to.
Lapvona is a powerhouse novel that will keep you gasping for more page after page. Moshfegh has reached perfection with this medieval tragedy.
This book was a very hard one to read. Lots of trigger warnings such as animal cruelty, cannibalism, sadism...and others. To read this book, it may be helpful to know these things ahead of time. As someone who has read Eileen, My Year of Rest and Relaxation, Homesick for Another World, and Death in her Hands - this was far darker and difficult to read through and had to read it in pieces. But Moshfegh carried me through with her beautiful prose.
LOL THIS IS SO GROSS. I will read anything Ottessa writes. Brothers Grimm but make it filthy, greasy, grimy. 4 stars.
Typical Ottessah. Smart, exciting, weird, and unlike anything else you’ve ever read. Lapvona follows the life of Marek, a 13-year-old peasant boy who lives in a cruel world of sadism , cannibalism and self-flagellation.
Lapvona welcomes you to take a coup d'œil at a fictitious pseudo fiefdom as it experiences calamity and desolation. As expected with a Moshfegh novel, there is an entourage of abominable and unsavory characters, who bring out the worst in each other. We see how a childish ruler navigates his kingdom and how it impacts various other personalities throughout the village such as: the shepherd, the village midwife, and the a priest. Lapvona is allegorical depravity at its finest.
I went into this mostly blind and was so glad I did. It wasn't like Moshfegh's other books for me but yet it still gave me the same vibes. I loved it. It was disturbing at times yet it didn't feel like an exaggerated attempt at shock value. Moshfegh's writing style is again top notch and there is so much written between the lines with this one. While I can't say that I would recommend it to everyone, I would recommend it!
Was gifted a copy of this by Penguin Press in exchange for my honest review <3
I really love Ostessa Moshfegh but this novel didn't work for me as well as some of her other novels. I didn't find myself wrapped up in the story/characters or care where it was headed. Fans of McGlue will probably enjoy this one.
Lapvona is very little plot, all creepy-vibes. Like with all of Moshfeghs work, readers will either love it or hate it. Although Lapvona is a departure from her normal subject, her “voice” is consistent. While I know this book will be polarizing, I think the millennials who are enjoy Moshfeghs work will eat this up!
I really could not get into this book and thus did not finish. Maybe I'll try again later and I do appreciate the galley!
Review: Lapvona by Ottessa Moshfegh
Ottessa Moshfegh’s Lapvona is set in a fictional medieval village of the same name. The story initially follows the two opposing classes -- Marek and his father, the village shepherd, represent the lower class, while the depraved lord Villiam and Father Barnabas, the town priest, represent the upper class. But when Marek commits a violent error that brings him in direct contact with Villiam, it alters the course of all their lives permanently.
I didn’t expect to enjoy this book nearly as much as I did. While I’m a fan of Moshfegh’s writing, this one felt like a departure from her previous novels while simultaneously feeling the most representative of the author to-date. It features the bleak and grotesque storytelling that we’ve come to associate with her, but in Lapvona, the village itself acts as an added layer for Moshfegh to explore humanity’s depravity.
Between Marek, his father, Villiam, and Father Barnabas, there is no shortage of moral misgivings to explore. Moshfegh delves into the corruption that drives the polarity between the wealthy and poor, emphasizing how the cruelties of the former group directly impact the conditions of the latter. But despite being historical fiction, Lapvona is far from historical. In fact, it leans more heavily towards fairy tale (think Grimm not Disney) than anything, and it’s a decision that works not just for the narrative, but for Moshfegh’s overall writing style.
Lapvona heavily focuses on religion as a running theme throughout the novel too, summarized in the novel’s epigraph — simply stated by Demi Lovato’s lyric, “I feel stupid when I pray.” This book peels apart the role of religion in a society saturated with depravity, madness, and violence, and through the character of Father Barnabas, it is even suggested that religion itself might be enmeshed within that very evil. Moshfegh poses these questions for consideration, but Lapvona doesn’t end with a clear-cut answer. Instead, the complexities and nuance of religion, of its ever-shifting meaning and purpose, is navigated by the characters’ own experiences with faith. This ultimately allows the reader the freedom to reach their own interpretation.
A long-time fan of Moshfegh's, Lapvona definitely challenges the limitations of what she's become most known for, and I respect this immensely. What it has resulted in is a novel that's experimental, disgusting, and a bit strange, but I loved every minute of reading it.
Thank you @netgalley and @penguinrandomhouse for the digital ARC!
An interesting mix of modern and temporally-alien ethos that isn't always successful but is worth reading. The direct and paratactic narration makes it difficult to get close to the characters or the action– maybe intentionally– but it also has the effect of sometimes making the author seem to be condescending to the "simple" medieval peasants who are her characters. Still, as the events move toward their climax, it becomes engaging and even moving. Would recommend to people who liked Groff's Matrix but want something a bit less feel-good.