Ruth is a young American in London, 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 and her toxic friend, Agnes, are obsessed with fashion and film, with their own bodies and those of the local boys they mock and desire. Everyone always tells her how pretty she is. You’re so pretty, they say. It is a fact. She could be described in the language of growing things. She is a tender sapling. She is green, she is fresh. . . . Yet to be beautiful, fresh, young is a horrible fate if one feels empty inside. That is why these ingénues try to soil themselves.
Haunted equally by self-doubt and by a morbid fascination with the beautiful, cruel people around her, Ruth darts quietly through the rainy sidewalks of her present and future. She sings Madonna at karaoke bars, is groped in back hallways by bartenders, dons her large dark glasses to hide from the sun and her future. Look at me don’t look at me look at me look at me don’t look at me don’t look
A novel of stark emotional impact and hypnotic power, rendered in a voice that’s daring and wholly original, Kate Zambreno’s Green Girl is Bonjour Tristesse or The Bell Jar for today, a love-hate letter to the ecstasy and trauma of youth.