Fourth Estate £12.99
Review: Wrecked, By Charlotte Roche
A marriage dissected in graphic detail
Sunday 26 May 2013
Charlotte Roche received international recognition for her debut novel Wetlands. This coming-of-age story about a teenage girl awaiting surgery for an anal fissure sparked debate about the sanitisation of female sexuality, and the social pressures placed on women to follow a strict hygiene regime.
In Wrecked Roche explores these themes in the context of fidelity, marriage and motherhood. This semi-autobiographical story is narrated over three days by Elizabeth Kiehl, a woman obsessed with being the perfect wife for her husband, Georg, and a model mother to her seven-year-old daughter, Liza. Beneath this façade she is a neurotic control-freak, fixated with death, revenge and sex, plagued by suicidal thoughts, anxious about her breast-size, and fearful that her husband may leave her. She visits her therapist three times a week to try to heal the mental harm she suffered following a tragedy that haunts her daily life.
Elizabeth will do anything to sexually satisfy her husband. They watch pornography, regularly visit brothels together, and indulge in threesomes. Roche observes bodily secretions, movements and genitals with a forensic eye, relaying everything in graphic detail that is at times grotesquely pornographic, but always bitingly accurate.
The novel's intensity is mitigated by Elizabeth's comical overreactions. She is first "sad, then angry" when Georg refuses to inspect her anus when it is revealed that Liza has infected the family with worms: "I left my parents for a man like this? Great. I guess I'm totally alone."
Elizabeth expresses thoughts that are taboo. She loves her daughter "above all else", but also feels "she has ruined my life". She admits being mentally cruel to her stepson because she is jealous. She believes that "Monogamy can be such a prison sometimes!" and longs for Georg's consent to sleep with other men.
Wrecked offers a condemning commentary on the unrealistic and damaging pressures placed on women as wives and mothers. Roche's writing is as compelling and complex as it is salacious and explicit, expertly dissecting the basis of relationships to show that traditional ideals have no place in the modern marriage. This thought-provoking, original novel highlights the urgent need to liberate women from the shackles of gender stereotyping.
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'music
Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Thailand beach murders: Thai PM suggests 'attractive' female tourists cannot expect to be safe wearing bikinis
- 2 Scottish independence: Five reasons Salmond is secretly hoping for a 'No' vote
- 3 Isis plan to 'behead random member of the public' in Sydney thwarted by Australian police
- 4 Scottish independence: Andy Murray backs Yes campaign in eleventh hour decision
- 5 Have you heard about the film Singapore has banned its people from watching? Well, you have now
Laurie Lee's Rosie: What is it like to inspire a writer's work and be immortalised forever on the page?
Metal detectors object to digs by Mackenzie Crook about ‘dysfunctional’ hobby in BBC4's 'Detectorists'
Doctor Who series 8: Time Heist pictures revealed ahead of episode 5
The Walking Dead season 5 air date, trailer and season 4 recap
Star Wars 7 leaked set photo of Adam Driver changes everything
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'