Wetlands – Or how not to translate Feuchtgebiete


The Mersey, trying to hide its innermost thoughts by reflecting everything.
Unlike Roche and Newman, who bare their souls, or me who hasn’t quite the courage yet to really write what he feels, but is getting there.
As a bloke, I’m always a bit afraid of straight out chick lit, but then again, I find it difficult to resist. So here are my newest confessions.
I’ve just finished reading Feuchtgebiete (Charlotte Roche) and Leftovers (Stella Newman). Are they so similar that they can stand comparison? Not really, but I’m going to do it anyway.
But “vorweg,” as Charlotte would say, Wetlands as an English translation of Feuchtgebiete is rubbish. It misses the intended meaning of Feuchtgebiete by a mile. The novel is obviously about the wet areas of the female anatomy and not some term from a geography textbook. It deals with the hang-ups about our wet areas and Roche has got over hangups although the need to write in such intimate detail about them may show they are still residing and troubling her somewhere deep down where she lives.
I give the book 5 * even if I hated some intimate areas. It reminded me of a Julian Clarey stand-up routine. You may hate the content but you love the outrageousness of the whole thing. Charlotte has put the wet areas where they belong – right out front. They need to be out front because our wet areas govern the bits of our lives/loves that are most important to us – sex, eating, defecating, sex and defecation, sex and eating. But it is much more than a treatise on the things we never want to mention. It liberates to read her descriptions. It will liberate more when I can talk about my Feuchtgebiete the way she does. At the moment I’m still trying to hide their impact on my life. Give me time! My finger hovers over the <publish> button for my new novel, Goddesses – 49 1/2 shades of charcoal.
Stella Newman takes a much more traditional view of hang-ups. She deals with the hang-ups caused by being jilted and by working with arseholes. I prefer the modern word for jilted – dumped! It covers the feeling so much better. And she analyses that feeling with great knowledge and empathy. A must read for anyone recovering from being dumped.
But as if being jilted isn’t bad enough – you are down at your lowest point – the bastards of this world take the moment to kick you, too. And her description of your average actor, advertising scripter, and fashion follower, and the hang-ups these people can cause in us, are terrifying. Never has a light-hearted read made me so furious. Great stuff Stella! I love the use of food as a metaphor for…….everything!
The nicest part of both books is the understanding our victims get from their friends. Gives you hope.
I shall keep reading both these authors.
OK. The truth. I have published my confessions too. They are not entirely honest. Who ever is? They are embellished (never spoil a good yarn) and censored, (some revelations I’m not quite ready for). But I hope to soon publish “Confessions of an old man in a dry month.”
Nice title? Stolen from a genius of course. I’ll let you know when to check it out.

Published by Clive La Pensée

Clive La Pensée, ex-science teacher, recognised writer on history of beer, novelist, expressionist, dreamer, believer in never giving up, empathiser, hopeful for a future without class, gender or racial prejudice. It's tough and at the moment, one has to remember distance travelled, rather than where we are at.

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