Our Flag Means Death (if it were tonally The Lighthouse meets The Power of the Dog meets Nightmare Alley meets The VVitch meets Euphoria meets literary fiction
For the first half of McGlue, I couldn’t decide where I landed with whether I was enjoying myself or not, but about a third/halfway through, it just sort of dawned on me that I was completely obsessed with this story and the skillful way it was being told. It’s masterful? The chokehold Ottessa Moshfegh has on me. Moshfegh is just so talented because I was so deeply invested in a story that is v grotesque and yet scintillating and thrilling all at the same time I am just shook at her mastery of her craft at her debut level! Like—I am in complete awe of Moshfegh. How she is not already on the level of Gillian Flynn in the cultural zeitgeist is beyond me, truly.
Also, listening to the audiobook edition of McGlue I really appreciated the commitment of the production for sourcing a narrator with the correct regional dialectical accent. However, through the course of listening to the audiobook, I didn’t realize how much I missed my late father’s Massachusetts accent. It only came out when he would talk to family or spend time in Massachusetts for a significant period of time, so I only rarely ever got to hear it, and listening to McGlue on audiobook, even though the narrator’s voice isn’t my dad’s or even close to it, the voice affectations are just—so perfect. (Can you tell that I love that production hired someone with the authentic accent of the setting or what?) The performance was strong and compelling, and I very much enjoyed the audiobook. Quick exquisite read!
All in all, definitely one of those if you love if you’ll love if but if you hate it you’re really going to hate it kind of books. If the IPs at the top of this review interest you, in addition to films like A Ghost Story, The Green Knight, Ex-Machina, The Lighthouse interest you, then this might be up your alley!!! Oh, and don’t forget to check out the trigger warnings for the book before heading into the read, because there are a LOT of slurs used and intense violent events happen, in addition to heavy alcohol abuse and addictive behavior, detailed descriptions of withdrawal, etc.
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