Gilda is an extremely anxious 20-something with a fear of dying. In Austin’s debut novel, she brings us deep into Gilda’s world through her internal dialogue, a continuous expressionless prose, through which we experience her intricate relationships and an unexpected mystery. Recommended By Kim S., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
This hilarious and profound debut for fans of Mostly Dead Things and Goodbye, Vitamin, follows a morbidly anxious young woman—“the kindhearted heroine we all need right now” (Courtney Maum, New York Times bestselling author)—who stumbles into a job as a receptionist at a Catholic church and becomes obsessed with her predecessor’s mysterious death.
Gilda, a twenty-something, atheist, animal-loving lesbian, cannot stop ruminating about death. Desperate for relief from her panicky mind and alienated from her repressive family, she responds to a flyer for free therapy at a local Catholic church, and finds herself being greeted by Father Jeff, who assumes she’s there for a job interview. Too embarrassed to correct him, Gilda is abruptly hired to replace the recently deceased receptionist Grace.
In between trying to memorize the lines to Catholic mass, hiding the fact that she has a new girlfriend, and erecting a dirty dish tower in her crumbling apartment, Gilda strikes up an email correspondence with Grace’s old friend. She can’t bear to ignore the kindly old woman, who has been trying to reach her friend through the church inbox, but she also can’t bring herself to break the bad news. Desperate, she begins impersonating Grace via email. But when the police discover suspicious circumstances surrounding Grace’s death, Gilda may have to finally reveal the truth of her mortifying existence.
A delightful blend of warmth, deadpan humor, and pitch-perfect observations about the human condition, Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead is a crackling exploration of what it takes to stay afloat in a world where your expiration—and the expiration of those you love—is the only certainty.
"A luminous novel, whose humour, wisdom and tenderness shine through on every page. Emily Austin writes with a perfectly-gauged lightness of touch, deftly balancing perceptive musings on life and death with scenes that make you laugh out loud. I was utterly charmed by the kind-hearted but morbidly anxious Gilda, a woman whose self-conscious overthinking leads her into the oddest of predicaments. The way she ties herself in ever-tighter knots trying to fit in and please everyone is something we can all relate to. Everyone in This Room Will Someday be Dead hits that sweet spot: a fun, page-turner of a novel that engages both heart and head. I was captivated by it." Sarah Haywood, New York Times bestselling author of The Cactus
"Gilda, Emily Austin's anxious and endearing hero, is a dream. It's impossible not to root for her as she navigates love, religion, mental health and everything in between. Too often our heroes are bigmouths who take up outsized space in the world. Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead redefines bravery, giving comfort to those who, like Gilda, struggle mightily with big hearts in a world that, to paraphrase the great Margaret Atwood, is full of bastards trying to get you down. Turn to any page in this lovely debut and you'll meet a tsunami of joy." Andrew David Macdonald, bestselling author of When We Were Vikings
"Introducing the bumbling, anxious, helplessly kindhearted heroine we all need right now. Gilda might be an accidental Catholic, a lapsed lesbian, and an inept receptionist, but she's awfully good at helping us reckon — hilariously, tenderly — with our impending deaths." Courtney Maum, New York Times bestselling author of I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You and Touch
"As a queer woman whose brain can be a terrifying place, I devoured this novel about a panic-ridden lesbian who hides her sexuality to work at a Catholic Church. While the narrator is anxious beyond measure, the prose is self-assured — brisk and effortless, moving through time and space with ease. At its core, the novel is about the fragility of human life, kept fresh with an intriguing mystery and subtle moments of tenderness. Everyone In This Room Will Someday Be Dead is a dreary truth but a delightful read." Anna Dorn, author of Vagablonde
About the Author
Emily R. Austin was born in Ontario, Canada, and received a writing grant from the Canadian Council for the Arts in 2020. She studied English literature and library science at Western University. She currently lives in Ottawa. Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead is her first novel.