I’m still processing my reactions to Green Girl by Kate Zambreno. At times I loved it, at other times I was easily distracted and thought it was too contrived and just wanted it to be over.
I eagerly joined Ruth, the green girl in question, as she flitted in and out of Horrids, her nickname for the London department store where she works. I worried for her when she felt left out of the clique at work and was befriended by the slick Agnes. I followed along as she had emptying sexual encounters and short-lived relationships. I sympathized with Ruth’s desire to drink, to run, to hide away from the demons inside of her. I wanted to hurt the HIM that had left her so broken and vulnerable. I was sad that her mother was dead and she was so lost. I wondered who “I” was that had given birth in the first chapter and who sometimes appeared and talked as if “I” was manipulating Ruth – was “I” the writer?
Then suddenly I was greeted with the words FIN. What? It was over? I wasn’t ready. I still had questions. I appreciate that it was a glimpse into the world of a green girl and that maybe she wasn’t so green anymore; suddenly aware that there were girls younger and cooler than her (always a terrible realization when so much weighs on being young and hip). But it is over? Just like that? And then I realized that I too had become susceptible to the trance of the green girl, left feeling empty and unfinished.
But the experience was worthwhile, as many of the descriptions were poetically amazing. I’ll limit myself to just a few.
“As far as Ruth knew Agnes did not eat at all, expect lipstick and coffee and cigarette smoke.”
“Everything she wears is perfect – it makes Ruth itch.”
“She has a fire-breathing belly. A seething sputtering ball of stress. A volcano spilling over messy anxieties, sensitivities, fears.”
“Agnes always a lightening bug agitating against the glass jar, always somewhere better to go.”
In the end, I gave it 4 stars because it was unique and the language was rich. I just wanted just a tad more from Green Girl.