WellRead September Selection: Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead by Emily Austin
Yes, we know, this month’s selection hardly sounds like the kind of book you should be reading in the midst of a pandemic, but weirdly, wonderfully, it is! Jocular, profound and oh so relatable, nestle into the existential angst of this one and you will find a novel filled with wisdom, humanity and many, many laughs.
The story is centred around Gilda, a queer atheist who recently became inadvertently employed as a receptionist at the local Catholic church. The job offers Gilda some reprieve from her panicky mind and obsession with death, but it does create some new challenges such as learning the rituals of the Catholic Church, concealing a new maybe-girlfriend and feeling compelled to conduct an amateur investigation into her predecessor's death. Funny, right? But beneath the deadpan humour of this story is an authentic and tender portrayal of living with anxiety and reckoning with the absurdity of the chaotic modern world. And it's this, along with the endearing cast of characters and snappily paced plot, that makes it a surprisingly charming and cathartic read.
Some have compared it to Eleanor Oliphant, but we prefer a combination of Fleabag, Sorry to Disturb The Peace and Jenny Offill as your reader positioning.