eBook, 304 pages
With the fierce emotional and intellectual power of such classics as Jean Rhys's Good Morning, Midnight, Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar, and Clarice Lispector's The Hour of the Star, Kate Zambreno's novel Green Girl is a provocative, sharply etched portrait of a young woman navigating the spectrum between anomie and epiphany.First published in 2011 in a small press edition, Green Girl was named one of the best books of the year by critics including Dennis Cooper and Roxane Gay. In Bookforum, James Greer called it "ambitious in a way few works of fiction are." This summer it is being republished in an all-new Harper Perennial trade paperback, significantly revised by the author, and including an extensive P.S. section including never before published outtakes, an interview with the author, and a new essay by Zambreno.Zambreno's heroine, Ruth, is a young American in London, kin to Jean Seberg gamines and contemporary celebutantes, by day spritzing perfume at the department store she calls Horrids, by night trying desperately to navigate a world colored by the unwanted gaze of others and the uncertainty of her own self-regard. Ruth, the green girl, joins the canon of young people existing in that important, frightening, and exhilarating period of drift and anxiety between youth and adulthood, and her story is told through the eyes of one of the most surprising and unforgettable narrators in recent fiction—a voice at once distanced and maternal, indulgent yet blackly funny. And the result is a piercing yet humane meditation on alienation, consumerism, the city, self-awareness, and desire, by a novelist who has been compared with Jean Rhys, Virginia Woolf, and Elfriede Jelinek.
Green Girl by Kate Zambreno was a chore for me to read. Oh, the writing is good, the imagery vivid, the capturing of a character spot-on - it's just that I disliked Ruth, green girls, and the whole idea of rampant consumerism, alienation as a way of life, and the whole angsty/ennui surfeit of this young woman and her self-destructive wonts. I think the problem is that I am so diametrically opposite that I certainly can't relate to her now, and couldn't when I was her age. Sorry but this is a did not finish for me. Reviews make it clear that many people appreciated Green Girl much more than I after the first third of the novel.
Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of HarperCollins for review purposes