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Green Girlby Kate Zambreno
A study in disaffected youth, Green Girl is awash in the apathy and angst of today's directionless 20-somethings. Ruth, a young, beautiful American working as a "shopgirl" in London, wanders aimlessly from job to job and man to man. She sees her life as meaningless and can articulate only that she needs attention. Casting about in a swirl of drugs, sex, and alcohol, she is aware, but only slightly, of the vast amount of loss she has endured. With a dead mother and an ex-boyfriend (to whom she only refers in capital letters: HIM), she slogs through her dreary life, alone and indifferent. Yet of one thing she is certain: she is astonishingly beautiful. But to what end? What can her beauty do for her? Written with a keen sense of voice, Green Girl is a snapshot of ennui and, at the same time, a throbbing dissertation on loneliness.
Synopses & Reviews
Green Girl is the Bell Jar for today — an existential novel about Ruth, a young American in London, kin to Jean Seberg gamines and contemporary celebutantes. Ruth works a string of meaningless jobs: perfume spritzer at a department store she calls Horrid's, clothes-folder, and a shopgirl at a sex shop. Ruth is looked at constantly — something she craves and abhors. She is followed by a mysterious narrator, the voice equally violent and maternal. Ruth and her toxic friend, Agnes, are obsessed with cosmetics and fashion and film, with boys, with themselves, and with each other.
Green Girl is about that important and frightening and exhilarating period of being adrift and screwing up, a time when drunken hook-ups and infatuations, nervous breakdowns, and ecstatic epiphanies are the order of the day.
"Zambreno's cruelty is only the world's, the world that has provided for girls like Ruth endless dead-end heroines, beauties who, if they do anything at all, mostly undo." Lightsey Darst, Bookslut
"[Green Girl] cracks, it zings. It makes you call your girlfriend and read sections aloud over the phone. It makes you scribble down lines into a notebook, as Zambreno scribbled endless epigraphs into Green Girl." Kirkus Reviews
"[Green Girl] is by turns bildungsroman, sociological study, deconstruction, polemic, and live-streamed dialogue with Jean Rhys, Clarice Lispector, Simone de Beauvoir, Virginia Woolf, the Bible, Roland Barthes, and most of Western European modernism by way of Walter Benjamin's Arcades Project....[T]here's little doubt that Green Girl represents a major step forward for a talented and whip-smart writer." Bookforum
About the Author
Kate Zambreno is the author of the novel O Fallen Angel (Chiasmus Press). A book of essays centering around the women of modernism, Heroines, will be published by Semiotext(e)'s Active Agents series in fall, 2012. Zambreno writes the blog, Frances Farmer is My Sister.
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