Ottessa Moshfegh views the past as a sort of fiction—she didn’t live it, so in a way, it is fiction to her. This view informs both her novels, which are full of deeply flawed characters and rich details.
But writing Eileen, set in 1960s New England, was fraught for the author:
I had to deal with what it meant to have my name on something, what it means to be a voice in the world, and the kind of voice I wanted to be. And do I want to be in the world at all? So it’s a huge thing for me. And you know, [it’s] just the beginning too. It’s been a trip and I’m really curious how the book will be received. In another way, I almost don’t even feel like the book is mine anymore.