Napier Courier - 2021-10-13




Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead — Emily Austin (Atlantic Books, $32.99) Reviewed by Louise Ward, Wardini Books I amthe kind of person who immediately picked up this book based on its title. If you’re not, bear with me, because this novel is very sweet and very funny. This is a story about a highly anxious young women named Gilda. She lives independently in the city and has just lost her job at a book shop because she didn’t turn up for days on end, confirming her opinion of herself as unreliable and useless. In reality, Gilda is incredibly depressed, worrying ceaselessly about her brother’s drink problem, the neighbour’s cat (missing after a house fire), and the health and safety of her fellow apartment dwellers. She comes from a family who view mental distress as a shameful stain, to be denied. Her panic attacks send her frequently to the hospital with chest pains and breathing problems. Gilda knows she needs help and musters the energy to leave her neglected nest to attend a therapy session at a local church, overcoming her paranoia that it’s a ploy to lure her into their ranks. She meets the church’s priest, Father Jeff, who assumes she has responded to an advertisement for a new secretary. She gets the job, mainly because Jeff is so impressed she knows what the internet is. But here’s the problem — Gilda is a gay atheist whose girlfriend’s name is Eleanor, and St Rigobert’s is huge, and gothic, and Catholic. Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead is an investigation into the sheer craziness of life, how little we are, how large we are, and how good intentions, second chances and kindness will eventually win the day. A delightful read.


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