Death in Her Hands: A rare disaster from Ottessa Moshfegh

Book review: Bland and with a paltry plot, Ottessa Moshfegh’s book is bitterly disappointing

Novelist Ottessa Moshfegh. Photograph: Krystal Griffiths

Novelist Ottessa Moshfegh. Photograph: Krystal Griffiths

You’re in New York, it’s 1962, and you’re in the audience for the premiere of Aaron Copland’s newest work, Connotations. You don’t know it yet, but you’re about to witness one of the most public failures of 20th-century classical music.

Copland, who made his name composing sweeping works of Americana lusciousness, decided write Connotations in twelve-tone, thus making it largely atonal. The piece was an aural Hindenburg. Jacqueline Kennedy, rendered stupefied by the piece, was only able to muster up an “Oh, Mr Copland” when she met the composer afterwards.

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