There was an unearthly quality to the atmosphere inside the Frieze New York art fair, like the air in a plane—still but pressurized, with an unsettling hum—when the fiction writer Ottessa Moshfegh visited to speak about her work one afternoon in May. “I hate this fair already,” she said when she walked in, handing her ticket to a very tall, very pale man dressed entirely in black lace. Almost immediately, she was lost in the labyrinth of works for sale: Takashi Murakami’s lurid blond plastic milkmaids with long legs and erect nipples; the words “any messages?” spelled out in neon tubing. It was like an enactment of the world inhabited by the protagonist of Moshfegh’s forthcoming novel, “My Year of Rest and Relaxation,” …

From The New Yorker, Ottessa Moshfegh’s Otherworldly Fiction by Ariel Levy

Still and pressurized VS still but pressurized? Maybe you can paraphrase that part of passage I would get the meaning.

1 Answer 1


The writer wishes to contrast two qualities, quietness on the one hand with a certain tension on the other.

The writer feels that these two qualities are not natural companions. They set each other off.

To write still and pressurized has a different nuance, as though the two qualities naturally go together.

It's the distinction between saying:

He said nothing but his menace was clear
He said nothing and his menace was clear

Contrasting the silence and the menace with but is more effective than combining them with and.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .