I don’t even really know where to start with the review of the last novel I read, sometimes there are just no words to describe things and this is one of those times.
The novel Wetlands by Charlotte Roche was mentioned in Literature Monthly Magazine as a ‘top ten novels out of the mainstream’ and since I recently read Rooftop Soliloquy based on their recommendation I thought I would read Wetlands.
The novel was hugely popular in Germany and seems to have gained more attention in the literary world since it’s recent translation from German to English–though don’t ask me why.
I have to say, I have a pretty bad mouth and like to think of myself as fairly tolerant and as ‘life experienced’…an open minded person and this book—-trumps any like of foul mouthed expression I could EVER think of. I mean, this book should have come with a disclaimer!
I mean it was raunchy–and when I say something is raunchy—its RAUNCHY! This book was SO bad as far as crude humor and smut I can possibly think of. Not many books should be considered XXX rated but this was defiantly one of them—this is like WELL above rated R and even NC-17. Not just based on sexual content, but the unsanitary nature of the character.
Most of the reviews I read about it couldn’t really talk about much without being horribly graphic and crude but one review I did read said if you can get past the smut and gross-ness of the book there is a wonderfully intelligent story happening there–ok it’s a stretch but in a weird way there was an interesting character to understand.
The main character, has a lesion in a very conspicuous region of her body. She plans to somehow reunite her divorced parents while she is in the hospital to have surgery to remove said lesion. Basically the surgery becomes an excuse to get her parents together.
You have to read this book from an outside perspective and see her actions for what they really are, a cry for help in the most disgusting way possible. She self mutilates and acts out using her body, bodily functions, and advantageous sex life to get attention. Once you get past the smut it is clear this girl is suffering some serious mental issues.
There are no chapters in the novel and it reads kind of like Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway—it’s a first person narrative told though a steady stream of consciousness which allows the reader to get more intimately acquainted with the narrator. This is a good tactic used by the writer because lets be honest I don’t know that I would WANT to get close to this girl as a reader but the first person stream of consciousness from which the story is told MAKES you get close to her which is perhaps why it is so disturbing.
I can’t really say a whole lot about the book itself or really offer any excerpts from it because it is so explicit but I can say that if one were to read this book–be prepared! If you are reading it, you should be an intelligent, mature person who is ready to be disturbed by young Helen.
It is a book which does capture you and because there are no chapters it’s hard to take a ‘break’. I read it in three days and oddly enough, despite the crude nature of the book I kept reading (though I didn’t think I could after the first three pages but some how I managed). I didn’t want to keep reading it but I kept hoping it would improve and when I realized I wasn’t going to get a break from the filth, I kept reading because I wanted to know HOW IN THE WORLD this book was going to end. I
t’s one of those novels thats just so gross and so bad you can’t NOT read it to see what happens next and just when you think it can’t get any weirder—it does. But the good news it that it’s fairly short (200 pages) so you don’t have to endure much.
This is a hard novel or me to ‘rate’ and ‘review’ which is perhaps what Roche wanted when she wrote the book—like I said some times things shock you so much that there are just no words. Read this book only if you want to be disturbed by a provocative and mentally sick individual—and don’t say I didn’t warn you about the for ‘mature audiences only’ label that was some how left off the cover—it needs one!
- Kindle edition, 208 pages
- Published April 8th 2009 by Grove/Atlantic, Inc. (first published January 1st 2008)
- ISBN 0802118925 (ISBN13: 9780802118929)
This book counts toward: NA
- Hosted by: NA
- Books for Challenge Completed: NA
Recommendation: 2.5 out of 5
Genre: Contempo Literature, Literature
Memorable lines/quotes: NA