Author(s): Kate Zambreno
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 shop-girl 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. Bookforum, James GreerThe book 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. Green Girl is ambitious in a way few works of fiction are, and it 's certainly more ambitious than the kind of fiction Zambreno is taking on: the single-girl-seeking-not-sure-what-exactly novel that has been pigeonholed as chick lit at least since Helen Fielding 's Bridget Jones 's Diary, which Green Girl draws from (its cosmopolitan London setting) and pitches against (its implied self-definition through romance).HTML Giant, Blake ButlerZambreno 's wickedly compassionate lenses seems to be not only a kind of wonderful novel of self-exploration and awakening, but a much needed tap on the face to remember where we are and how what comes out of us both is of us and mirrored off of those we touch.Kirkus Reviews, Jessa CrispinMeet Ruth. She 's a little lost, a little feeble, a little unsteady on her feet. She is what Kate Zambreno, her creator, calls a Green Girl, a girl suffering through her own becoming. She is an American lost in London, working at a department store she bitterly calls Horrids, trying to force a perfume called Desire on American tourists. You might not expect such a girl to keep the company of Walter Benjamin, Virginia Woolf, Joseph Cornell and John Keats, but in Zambreno 's world she does. Writers and filmmakers and philosophers weave in and out of her tale of one girl in danger of being gobbled by the big city. Her life might seem a little mundane, with the toing and froing on the London Underground, the dreary retail job, the boy problems and the girl problems and the hair problems. But the book is anything but. It cracks, it zings. It makes you call your girlfriend and read sections aloud over the phone.Bookslut, Lightsey DarstZambreno'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.