A meditation on anxiety and depression, suicide, body image, identity, grief, and survival. Whether competing in shopping mall beauty pageants, reflecting on childhood monsters and ballet lessons, or recounting dark cultural ephemera while facing grief and authenticity in the digital age, Gina Nutt's shifting style echoes the sub-genres that Night Rooms highlights—spirit-haunted slow burns, possession tales, slashers, and revenge films with a feminist bent.
Gina Nutt's Night Rooms is a collection of biographical essays in which memories and movies—mostly horror ones—merge to create a narrative that explores identity, body image, fear, revenge, and angst. Jumping between past and present with ease, Nutt slashes to the center of issues like motherhood and depression and ultimately emerges as the quintessential final girl of her own film ... Because she goes back and forth in time, the collection feels simultaneously split and cohesive, and we get to see how sometimes her past—her trauma, the movies she watched, and the things she experience—echo in her life years after. Nutt's style is slightly jarring, but it soon becomes familiar. Her short paragraphs tend to jump between subjects and times. However, like a great jazz musician, she always keeps the themes at the core in mind and, after what feels like literary improvisations and melodic deviations, she always returns to the central topic ... The writing in Night Rooms is intimate and Nutt doesn't shy away from any topic ... The same style that will strike some readers as jarring at the start eventually morphs into a unique approach to the delivery of thoughts, memories, and ideas that will stick with them for a long time after reading Night Rooms. Nutt has a knack for short, sharp lines that skip the brain and go straight to the heart ...
What do you get when you take a grouping of personal essays, infuse them liberally with horror and other pop culture references, then sprinkle in a dash of ‘90s nostalgia? The answer is simple: the best new release this reviewer has read so far in 2021! With a stunningly original concept and precise execution, Gina Nutt’s debut essay collection Night Rooms is absolutely captivating! A series of compositions covering the landscape of a life in progress, Night Rooms puts feelings to experiences in a way readers never would have imagined possible … and one they have likely never seen before! Nutt shies away from nothing in her writing, taking bold chances with both the structure and the way she lays herself bare to the reader ... Whatever it might be that makes the writing click, just go ahead and pick up this book. Inhale the essays one by one. Set it down and reflect back on your own lived experience. You won’t regret the opportunity to set off upon this unique journey yourself!
Nutt is never explicit, never spells it out. Rather, she lets the images do the work. 'That a shore exists—even if its line doesn’t cross the horizon—is not likely a comfort to someone swimming in the middle of the ocean.' It’s haunting and beautiful. And it makes me feel sad and alone, like that sadness and loneliness will never end. It’s a metaphor that makes me feel rather than parse ... The essays...are fragmented, lyrical, full of white space for ideas and themes to echo through. They bleed into one another maintaining the same structure, rhythm, voice, and tone—this observation is not meant as a slight; Nutt is in full control of how form and content are playing together. As self-contained essays, they are ephemeral, in that their bleeding leads to a loose conglomerate—a container made of containers.