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Lapvona cover art

Lapvona

Written by: Ottessa Moshfegh
Narrated by: Ottessa Moshfegh
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Publisher's Summary

An Instant New York Times Bestseller!

Lapvona flips all the conventions of familial and parental relations, putting hatred where love should be or a negotiation where grief should be . . . Through a mix of witchery, deception, murder, abuse, grand delusion, ludicrous conversations, and cringeworthy moments of bodily disgust, Moshfegh creates a world that you definitely don’t want to live in, but from which you can’t look away.” —The Atlantic

In a village buffeted by natural disasters, a motherless shepherd boy finds himself part of a power struggle that puts the community’s faith to a savage test, in a spellbinding novel that represents Ottessa Moshfegh’s most exciting leap yet


Little Marek, the abused and delusional son of the village shepherd, believes his mother died giving birth to him. One of Marek’s few consola­tions is his enduring bond with the blind village midwife, Ina, who suckled him when he was a baby. For some people, Ina’s ability to receive trans­missions of sacred knowledge from the natural world is a godsend. For others, Ina’s home in the woods is a godless place.

The people’s desperate need to believe that there are powers that be who have their best interests at heart is put to a cruel test by their depraved lord and governor, especially in this year of record drought and famine. But when fate brings Marek into violent proximity to the lord’s family, new and occult forces arise to upset the old order. By year’s end, the veil between blindness and sight, life and death, and the natural world and the spirit world will prove to be very thin indeed.

©2022 Ottessa Moshfegh (P)2022 Penguin Audio

What the critics say

“Moshfegh expertly creates a world with its own superstitions and laws, both timeless and topical.” —Oprah Daily

“The author of My Year of Rest and Relaxation, EW's pick for the best book of 2018, turns her inimitable lens to a medieval fiefdom ruled by deeply tribal ideas of class, family, and faith. The result reads like a cracked fairy tale, both familiar and fantastically strange (June 21).” Entertainment Weekly, 16 novels we're excited for this summer

“No one is quite who he first seems in the latest wicked tale from macabre master Moshfegh . . . Sculpting an eerily canny fabular world of contrasts and evil, cartoonish cruelty, in her signature way, Moshfegh conjures a grotesque, disturbing story of gross inequality and senseless strife.” Booklist

What listeners say about Lapvona

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Not sure what to think

The last two sentences were so jarring that my heart felt like it stopped for a moment.

The author’s narration is beautiful, the writing is beautiful, the story was engaging, but there were times when it lost me. It got repetitive when every character’s relationship with God went into so much detail. It’s relevant to the story, and I see what she was doing… but it was the least interesting part of the characters.

I found myself wishing the story was focused on the wet nurse, as she was by far the most interesting character. I know that so much about her is ambiguous on purpose, but I would love to see her life, her magic, and her motivations fleshed out. It felt like her story was becoming its most interesting right at the very end of the book, and it was frustrating.

Overall, great book. It had me wishing it wasn’t over, until I was suddenly glad that it was 🫣

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Would recommend!

Excellent narration! Story is certainly unique and creative. Sometimes I felt like the gruesome nature of the story was for shock factor and didn’t add to the story in a meaningful way. Regardless still a great read with well-written characters.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

weirdly good

there’s a lot of characters that i hated, there was not a single character i was able force myself to like. i like the weirdness but the story telling seems very shrek-like, fairytale, not authentic. i don’t know how to explain it. it was good though but i wished it was more gruesome to be honest.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Unsettling and twisted - I loved it .

All of the characters & twists made me pause the audiobook to assess what could be unfolding. The real emotional pull each desperate and hateful character makes made me cringed.
I was taken into a realistic realm of the nasty,natural desires of humans, and yet…questioning the unreal and magical like surprises.

The narrator being the author is what take this book a step up- knowing exactly where the right and intentional inflections on words and pauses - pulled me in and will keep me there for days now that I’m done this book.

I do recommend.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Medieval Saltburn?

Interesting for sure…. Weird and unusual, yep. At times it felt gross just for the sake of it, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Have never read something even remotely like this.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Unsettling

This book was unsettling, uncomfortable and disturbing. I loved it, it was incredibly well written and overall a great book however its not for the faint of heart lol

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Divinity, Disability, & Destruction

I absolutely enjoyed this book. If you’re anything like me and enjoy well written horror stories with sly and witty characters, you’re gonna love this book. No one is innocent, everyone is deliciously flawed and corrupt down to even the children. What struck me the most is the niche exploration of the world of disability in a fantasy-medieval world akin nearly to our own. What sort of tribulations would a person experience in a backward society? And how will they survive when disasters destroy the crop and the hunger finally sets in…..?

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

I recommend this one.

I enjoyed this very unusual story from another time. Like nothing I've ever read before. The narrator was excellent.

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

An endless barrage of awful events, yet still boring

This book feels shallow, gruesome and written for shock value. While you could find deeper meaning in the novel it is more a reflection of your intelligence than the author. Lapvona is well written with what should be an interesting premise, however its an absolute drag to get through

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

not for me

I found this book to be asking for more than it deserved. it was unsettling and disturbing but didn't really seem to be doing anything with the ethos it drew. I don't know what the author's intentions for this book were. the story was creative unique, and original but something was missing for me. it seemed like it could have even been satirical, or carried themes that could have been transcendent of it's genre, but overall it felt more like a mild horror novel. it's clear that some scenes were intended to be brutal, uncomfortable, and disgusting. the writing is high quality but the story was just completely lost on me. respect to the author, I just didn't enjoy it at all.

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