The grimly titled Everyone in this Room will Someday be Dead by Emily Austin is an excellent book. Austin’s depiction of helpless Gilda as she tries to navigate life under debilitating circumstances- she has an invisible illness that seems to evade her as well as health professionals- is able to make you both cry and laugh. The writer’s style is often likened to Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Writing about women in tragi-comedy roles is having a moment and this novel fits right in.
At first, I found Gilda to be a wrongly named protagonist. This name was too shiny, too hopeful! On consideration however, her misleading name adds well to the realism of the story. A glamorous, put together Hollywood golden era movie star she is not. However, wasn’t it said that men who went to bed with Gilda woke up with reality? Not everyone named Joy is a happy soul.
Gilda falls into situations that make her anxious and unhappy as she desperately tries to please everyone. I said she has an invisible illness- maybe that was wrong to say- but I feel she does. She has deep set anxiety that leads her to be both hypochondriac and also pitiful at looking after her own health. She knows something is wrong- she just doesn’t know what. Also, no one can tell her. People expect more from her than she is clearly able to handle which is often the way when someone looks like they are coping. I think more people could relate to this book than they would like to admit. Loved the ending by the way!
For those of you who enjoyed Olive, Elizabeth is Missing and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, this is for you.