In My Year of Rest and Relaxation, the latest novel from the ferociously talented writer Otessa Moshfegh, the protagonist sets out to sleep through an entire year to get far enough away from her life so that she might have a chance at rebirth. “Mine was a quest for a new spirit,” Moshfegh’s unnamed narrator says near the end of the book. “At the end of my hibernation, I’d wake up — I imagined — and see my past life as an inheritance.” She sets out on her project using a series of increasingly strong downers. To me, the impulse is relatable; the idea that the silence of deep sleep — and that alone — can remake you is compelling, not least because it requires (seemingly) so little work. But sleep and rest are different, and it’s possible to have one without the other. Finding silence, meanwhile, can be even harder, especially in a world as digitally cluttered as the one we live in today. Relaxation is set in the year 2000 — just before the rise of smartphones, push notifications, and the ambient internet we, as a society, have come to rely on. In 2000, according to a survey of a representative American population published in the journal American Association for Public Opinion Research, only 28.3 percent of respondents said they owned a personal cell phone. This year, according to Pew, 95 percent of Americans own a cell phone, and a full 77 percent of those people own a… [Read full story]
The Verge is an ambitious multimedia effort founded in 2011 to examine how technology will change life in the future for a massive mainstream audience.
Our original editorial insight was that technology had migrated from the far fringes of the culture to the absolute center as mobile technology created a new generation of digital consumers. Now, we live in a dazzling world of screens that has ushered in revolutions in media, transportation, and science. The future is arriving faster than ever.