Thirty is the story of a woman who is convinced that she is going to die at the age of thirty. Addressing those who will read it posthumously, she documents the last year of her life in a dark, obsessive diary. Other women are summoned into her downward spiral: spectral muses, heroines-ghosts, suicide writers; Nelly Arcan, Elizabeth Wurtzel, Marie-Sissi Labrèch, Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf, Michelle Tea, and Angelina Jolie. A raw exploration of female suffering, the narrator creates a universe where the ghosts of heroines exist and who, in turn, allow her to exist.
The text embodies the capacity of literature to name and welcome both the personal introspection and social analysis of its theme. Through a prism of ideas, quotes, and poetry, Thirty assembles vignettes from popular culture and literature. The text flirts with anti-happiness rhetoric, mocks wellness culture, and cements itself in the tradition of ‘Bad Girl’ literature. In the end, Thirty emerges as a text that confronts both the pressure to be “a good girl” and the pressure to be happy. “I wanted to buy into the promise of happiness, but I’m too poor…” While she resists these tropes, does she survive them?
Originally published in French as Trente by Éditions du remue-ménage, Thirty is now available in English for the first time. Translated by Natalia Hero.