With her jaunty dissection of the sex life and the private grooming habits of the novel’s 18-year-old narrator, Helen Memel, Ms. Roche has turned the previously unspeakable into the national conversation in Germany. Since its debut in February, the novel (‘Feuchtgebiete,’ in German) has sold more than 680,000 copies, becoming the only German book to top Amazon.com’s global best-seller list.
The book, which will be published next year in the United States, is a headlong dash through every crevice and byproduct, physical and psychological, of its narrator’s body and mind. It is difficult to overstate the raunchiness of the novel, and hard to describe in a family newspaper.
‘Wetlands’ opens in a hospital room after an intimate shaving accident. It gives a detailed topography of Helen’s hemorrhoids, continues into the subject of anal intercourse and only gains momentum from there, eventually reaching avocado pits as objects of female sexual satisfaction and – here is where the debate kicks in – just possibly female empowerment.
Jezebel provides an amateur translation of an excerpt, since the book won’t be available in English until next year.
(via Tomorrow Museum)