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Wrecked Paperback – May 7, 2013

3.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Controversial German author Roche (Wetlands) delivers a complicated take on literary erotica where sex is more than titilation. Over three days the neurotic Elizabeth Kiehl mentally and physically prepares to visit a brothel with her husband Georg. Her crippling obsessions—going to therapy, pleasing her husband sexually, being the perfect mother to her daughter Liza, and saving the environment—all stem from a car accident that killed her three brothers, who were en route to her wedding, and her hatred of the paparazzi who terrorized her family afterwards. It is hard to differentiate between Roche's potentially groundbreaking expansion of female subjectivity in fiction and what is merely included to see how much she can get away with, but it is precisely the blurring of this line which makes her work so fascinating. Although trying shock, bemuse, and perhaps even enrage, Roche also attempts to explore the multitude of contradictory pressures middle class women face in the early 21st century, seen through the sharply focused, yet irredeemably skewed, lens of a mentally ill, and therefore unreliable, narrator. Although the content may trouble many readers, Roche's particularly explicit brand of Molly Bloom-esque, serpentine inner monologue is worth a read for those who can stomach it. (May)


“In this follow-up to her 2009 bestselling debut novel Wetlands, the British-born, German author Charlotte Roche is once again out to shock. . . . Wrecked is likely to become a cult classic, American Psycho by way of Catherine Millet, as Roche places domestic sex at the forefront of contemporary erotic culture.”—Financial Times

“Reading this book is like visiting another planet, but I think I should go there more often. . . . Sex is the bait with which Roche lures us into a dark and psychologically complex novel that addresses some difficult themes: the shortcomings of the women’s movement; the psychological consequences of familial breakdown and bereavement; the pressures of being a mother in this bewildering, hyper-self-conscious age. . . . I find Roche’s brand of bloody-minded emotional openness inspiring. If women’s liberation means freeing us to be more truly ourselves, we should celebrate a writer like Roche, whose voice is defiantly, shamelessly her own.”—Guardian

“Roche’s style is hauntingly disarming; beneath Elizabeth’s surface narrative lie troubling themes of personal deprecation, sexual promiscuity, and the affecting nature of familial relationships.”—Bust

“There are things in this book that could even spark a new sexual revolution.” —Stern

“Elizabeth Kiehl is a mother, wife, photographer, daughter, ex-wife (sort of), ex-wild child, confused feminist, militant atheist and survivor. . . There are moments of fascinating psychology, as well as deceptively muted visceral screams, and by the end of the book, one is not sure whether to admire, pity, or detest Elizabeth. . . For some readers, the mesmerizing if unsettling narrative might be groundbreaking.”—Kirkus Reviews

“A frank, nuanced, and gripping look at what makes a good marriage . . . The novel dispenses its ideas with disarming simplicity, but no one should let that fool them into thinking that it lacks complexity or relevance. Roche has written a book that the reader will think about long after they have finished it—something that can’t be said of most ‘literary masterpieces’.”—Frankfurter Allgemeiner Zeitung

“This isn’t a novel, it’s a manifesto—one directed primarily at women, encouraging them to free themselves from their false ideals—and, above all, to get a therapist!” —NZZ am Sonntag

“With merciless precision Roche depicts shock, pain, lust, empathy, and her revenge fantasies and suicide plans . . . A startlingly radical striptease of the soul.” —Focus

“This novel points to much more than what is explicitly on the surface . . . [Roche] turns up the dial on the daily madness of how we try to feed our kids politically correct food, worship at the altar of the environment, the prison of information that manuals and the Internet puts at our fingertips, and the way we are forced to coexist with others only in a way that puts our needs first.” —Freie Presse

“Wrecked is not just a collection of provocations, but a brilliantly drawn portrait of a young woman who has one desire above all others: to be liked by other people.”—Deutsche Presse-Agentur

"There is no contemporary author in Germany who writes as vividly and ardently about sex as Charlotte Roche."—Der Tagesspeigel

"You have to read it."—FAS

"You simply cannot fail to be affected by this book. . . . Roche's language is as sensitive as it is brutal, as laconic as it is creative."—Nurnberger Nachrichten

"While Wetlands was a book going through puberty, Wrecked is a mature book that stays true to Aristotle's definition of tragedy, creating fear and pity."—Die Zeit

"For the protagonist of Wrecked, sex is above all a way to flee the demons in her mind—but sex is by no means the reason why Roche chose to write her second and significantly more mature book."—Abendzeitung

Praise for Wetlands:

“With her jaunty dissection of the sex life and the private grooming habits of the novel’s eighteen-year-old narrator, Helen Memel, Charlotte Roche has turned the previously unspeakable into the national conversation in Germany. . . . A cri de coeur against the oppression of a waxed, shaved, douched and otherwise sanitized women’s world.”—The New York Times

"An explicit novel, often shockingly so, but also a surprisingly accomplished literary work, which evokes the voice of J. D. Salinger's The Cather in the Rye, the perversion of J.G. Ballard's Crash, and the feminist agenda of Germaine Greer's The Female Eunuch."—GRANTA

“An encyclopedia of bodily secretions and a catalog of nonstandard ends for them . . . A cautionary tale about entrusting private grooming to professional bikini waxers. . . . [As a] book that does not intend to arouse but to titillate . . . Wetlands is the epitome of the form.”—Slate

"Not since Germaine Greer's The Female Eunuch have readers and critics had such a Rohrschach test for their body issues as this year's novel Wetlands."—Bookslut

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press, Black Cat (May 7, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802121128
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802121127
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #417,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By TChris TOP 500 REVIEWER on June 24, 2013
Format: Paperback
The first several pages of Wrecked are devoted to the narrator's frank and detailed description of the steps she takes to give sexual pleasure to her husband. Elizabeth Kiehl's narration is alternately clinical and erotic, and occasionally touches upon the science and psychology and politics of sex. Readers who don't approve of graphic language will want to stay far away from Wrecked.

The sex is followed by a considerably less interesting discussion of cooking, which turns into a discussion of motherhood, from Elizabeth's perspective as both the daughter of a domineering mother and as the mother of an eight-year-old girl, the product of her first marriage. This leads to the story of how Elizabeth met her current husband (Georg), which leads to an analysis of the role sex plays in a marriage, which amounts to: love is just an excuse to have sex. Filling out organ donor cards (because love is intertwined with death) is the height of their romantic relationship. Elizabeth wants to have sex with a man who isn't her husband (but only with her husband's approval), a desire that provides what passes for dramatic tension in the novel: will she or won't she?

As the title suggests, Elizabeth is a wreck. She has panic attacks. She has body issues. She has odor issues. She has control issues. She is plagued by feelings of guilt. She hates her mother. She hates her stepmother. She has a father complex. She has worms (did we really need to know that?). She is rigidly opposed to change. She is "hostile to life." She often contemplates suicide. She's ambivalent about some of her husband's kinkier desires but she's unable to say "no." She fears that her husband (and every other man she knows) is a pedophile who will sexually abuse her daughter.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
You must be clearly a hypocrit to qualify this very interesting and touching book as "pornographic" or something of the kind.
It isn't even about SEX!
It nas nothing or little to do with her first, highly controversial and spetacular best-seller "Wetlands", about what she told the "New York Times": ""I wanted to write about the ugly parts of the human body. The smelly bits. The juices of the female body. . . . I created a heroine that has a totally creative attitude towards her body -- someone who has never even heard that women are supposedly smelly between their legs. A real free spirit."
In her new book, some sex scenes that the author describes are absolutely usual between even conventional couples, not to speak that they are far away in terms of being graphic when compared with classics of world literature written by giants as Henry Miller, Philip Roth, D. H. Lawrence, Anaïs Nin or, say -- he is already a classic -- Mario Vargas Llosa.
This book is about womanhood, motherhood, marriage, fidelity, the transformations people go through in each phase of existence, the permanent necessity of make difficult choices in life...
Charlotte Roche didn't want chock anybody with this book. She only shows she's going into maturity as a writer.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Enjoyed this.
Strong, honest narrator.
Complex attitudes about marriage, sex and motherhood I suspect many women have and do not embrace or admit.
Worth the read.
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By Uli on April 6, 2016
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read the book in german and had to get if for my english speaking friends ;) love the book
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Format: Paperback
I paid $15.00 for crap.... Reviews/write-ups are usually somewhat dependable....... Not this time.... Seriously? With all the phenomenal and gifted writers and books to read? And I wasted my time with this?
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