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Notes on a Scandalous Novel

Kate Christensen
"What is up with the Europeans, or at least the Germans?"
04/23/09 at 11:44

I have loved all the posts so far and laughed out loud a few times and am getting the feeling we're all in total agreement here. How did you guys all manage to read the whole thing? This book bums me out. I wanted to find it hilarious, transgressive, honest, and interesting, but I can barely force myself to go on reading it. I'm stuck on page 141. Not because I'm squeamish, which I am not in any way, but because it's so searingly awful, as you've all already and very eloquently and hilariously pointed out: tawdry, pointless, boring, badly written ... eccch. As far as I can ascertain, it's the extended rant of a sad, not-very-bright, lonely, boring, narcissistic girl picking things off herself and eating them and masturbating in weird ways and having weird sex and not washing herself and smearing her juices all over the world like a demented 2-year-old and lying in a hospital bed with her bloody asshole hanging out, trying not to take a shit so she can stay there and in so doing reunite her divorced parents. My oh my.

This book’s most pointed effect on me is to make me wonder what the fuck is up with the Europeans, or at least the Germans. I just learned from a friend as I was whining about how much I can't finish Wetlands that there are hugging cafes in Berlin where lonely people go to be hugged by strangers who are there for the same purpose; have you all heard of this already? I have a feeling that the popularity of this weird, pathetic, babyish fad dovetails somehow with the runaway success of this book over there, people allegedly fainting in readings, how many copies sold? The Germans have obviously gone collectively insane. Or, more likely, their entrenched, ongoing collective insanity is manifesting itself now in some whole new horrible way (I am one-quarter German, by the way, which is totally Teutonic enough to qualify me to rip them a new one).

I am tempted now to parody Wetlands by describing a typical day in my dog's life (I smelled the beagle’s anus. He'd been eating well; it smelled of lamb. I gobbled up a little chunk of corn that was dangling from his butthole. Then I pissed on a tree and sprayed my own leg, which made me so happy. I love wearing the smell of my own piss. I love licking my own dick when it comes out like a red lipstick from its stinky fur sheath. I love licking the sweaty place between my crotch and inner thigh because it smells of my own beautiful stinky body smells. I never, ever wash myself and hate being forced to take a bath. I love licking other dogs' dicks and pussies and assholes, getting my snout right up in there. I love eating my owner’s used tampons and condoms and anything that comes off anyone’s body), but the difference is that my dog is deeply dignified and businesslike and unself-conscious and humble about these activities, whereas Helen What's-her-face is just a gross-out little brat with wayyy too much time on her hands.

I promise by my next post I’ll have finished the fucking thing.

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