Books·Canadian

Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead

A novel by Emily Austin.

Emily Austin

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 humour, 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. (From Atria Books)

Emily Austin is a writer based in Ottawa. Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead is her debut novel.

From the book

There must have been an explosion. I hear ringing interspersed with a woman's muffled screams. Everything is black. I blink repeatedly.

Black. Black. Black.

I blink once more and see sunlight. The towering silhouette of a streetlight forms in front of me. The light is green, but I am not moving. I glance behind me. A beige van is expelling smoke from its bent hood. There is shattered glass across the concrete road —

I remember now. I was about to sip my coffee. I heard a car horn, looked into my rearview mirror, and watched as that minivan plowed into the trunk of my car. My airbag exploded, and I involuntarily punched myself in the face.


From Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead by Emily Austin ©2021. Published by Atria Books.

 

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now