Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 186

The protagonist, who is unnamed, is a twenty-something, female, college-educated, former art gallery assistant in New York City. She describes herself as “tall and thin and blond and pretty and young.” Her ambition, or lack thereof, is to “fade away from life.”

Illustration of PDF document

Download My Year of Rest and Relaxation Study Guide

Subscribe Now

For much of the novel, she is alone in her apartment, carrying out her plan to “hibernate,” or retreat from the world in a drug-fueled, relaxed state. For part of the time, however, she interacts with the following characters: a psychiatrist, Dr. Tuttle, who prescribes boatloads of drugs without blinking an eye; her former boyfriend, a banker named Trevor; and Ping Xi, an eccentric artist friend.

The narrator’s relationship with her closest female friend, Reva, an ex-college roommate, cannot really be described as close. Reva, an insurance broker, is also having trouble adjusting to adult life; she is caught in an affair with a married man, struggles with bulimia, and finds no satisfaction in her personal or work life. Still, Reva’s concern for her friend is rather touching, as it brings her to her apartment for her own style of welfare checks.

Unlock This Study Guide Now

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-hour free trial