Gilda is an atheist and a lesbian, two definitives that are at the exact opposite end of Roman Catholic philosophy.
BOOK REVIEWS – NO. 11:
Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead
by Emily Austin
Gilda is an atheist and a lesbian, two definitives that are at the exact opposite end of Roman Catholic philosophy. But when she finds a flyer offering free mental health support, something she desperately needs, Gilda heads out to 1919 Peach Tree to take advantage of ‘said’ help. Somewhere, however, there has been a mix-up in messages and Gilda finds herself standing outside an enormous gothic church to which she naively climbs the steps.
When the priest, Father Jeff, asks her if she is there for the receptionist job, one which has recently become available due to the death of the longstanding previous receptionist, Grace Moppet, Gilda, in her confusion stammers Y-Yes… and the delightful saga of Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead, begins.
Emily Austin’s writing is full of witty phrases and truly laugh-out-loud imagery.
When told that Grace was ‘lost to the Lord’ Gilda opines that ‘losing someone to the Lord makes it sound like God steals people.’
And even though she is down and out financially, Gilda feels she can’t take just any job as her skills and her employment options are limited. In fact, Gilda shares that she is a bad actress and so she wouldn’t make it as a sex worker because she is, after all, a lesbian.
Austin paints some charming images relative to the Catholic Church’s religious iconography, things such as the ubiquitous stained glass windows in Catholic buildings:
“[The] red-stained glass windows let bloodshot light spill all over the pews.”
On one occasion when she is hungry and without many groceries, Gilda creeps into the church rectory to steal some crackers to go with her block of cheese.
“It turns out that the crackers I stole are the body of Christ. After eating more than half the bag, I googled the cracker brand and learned that I paired marble Cracker Barrel cheese with God’s transubstantiated body.”
And when Eleanor, Gilda’s ‘girlfriend’ texts her while she is working at the church, Gilda doesn’t respond. She feels uncomfortable answering her lesbian lover at work “because I’m worried Jeff and the Catholics will be able to sense I am doing something gay.”
Narrated with self-deprecating and wry humour, Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead, happens over some of the most important seasons in the Catholic liturgy: Advent; Twelvetide; Ordinary Time; Lent; Easter;
Although Gilda’s thoughts are often taken up with suicidal thoughts and she spends an inordinate amount of time in emergency departments, these situations are handled in such an intriguing and introspectively interesting way that as a reader I was happy to walk the path with Gilda, knowing that she would make it – if only because of her delicious sense of humour.
I thoroughly enjoyed Austin’s writing and delighted in both the storyline and Austin’s humourous turns of phrases.
On Sale July 6th from Simon & Schuster
#Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead #Netgalley #cecescott.com @cecemscott
Cece is the feature cover writer for several prestigious publications and is an informed, connected and enthusiastic book blogger at cecescott.com. Her first book, The Love Story, was published in 2019. Her second book will be coming out in the spring of 2021.
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