DNF Review: Wreck and Order by Hannah Tennant-Moore
Published February 9th, 2016 by Hogarth.
Buy the Book:
A boldly candid, raw portrait of a young woman’s search for meaning and purpose in an indifferent world
Decisively aimless, self-destructive, and impulsively in and out of love, Elsie is a young woman who feels stuck. She has a tumultuous relationship with an abusive boyfriend, a dead-end job at a newspaper, and a sharp intelligence that’s constantly at odds with her many bad decisions. When her initial attempts to improve her life go awry, Elsie decides that a dramatic change is the only solution.
An auto-didact who prefers the education of travel to college, Elsie uses an inheritance to support her as she travels to Paris and Sri Lanka, hoping to accumulate experiences, create connections, and discover a new way to live. Along the way, she meets men and women who challenge and provoke her towards the change she genuinely hopes to find. But in the end, she must still come face-to-face with herself.
Whole-hearted, fiercely honest and inexorably human, Wreck and Order is a stirring debut that, in mirroring one young woman’s dizzying quest for answers, illuminates the important questions that drive us all. (Goodreads)
It pains me to write this review. I’ve been holding onto this beauty for a couple months now. I was hoping I could wave it in front of reader’s faces saying I found a hidden gem and wow look at its cover, unfortunately, the writing was either too smart for me or just too darn flowery. Another literary fiction story bites the dust. When am I going to learn?
Travel stories are some of my favorite stories to read and the plotline sounded contemporary enough that I thought I would love it, but I couldn’t get past page 9. Pretty incredible when I feel confident dnf’ing at page 9. I’m not saying the story is bad I just couldn’t read this writing. It didn’t make sense.
If you’re into literary fiction though don’t count this book out. It has some great praise.
Elsie, the protagonist of Wreck and Order, is simultaneously in search of and in flight from her nature—sexually, spiritually, and emotionally. In this raw and compelling debut, Hannah Tennant-Moore has created a woman savagely at odds with herself: a heroine who’s anything but, for these strange times.
— Claire Messud, author of The Emperor’s Children & The Woman Upstairs
Strong and vulnerable, wise and reckless, a young woman made happy by the right and wrong things—Elsie Shore takes self-discovery to a new level in this very smart, highly quotable novel. ‘I was there to lose control, to be surprised by another person;’ she is all nerve and courage, from California to Sri Lanka, with a dangerous flaw—when men hurt her she returns to the source of pain for relief from the pain. I alternately feared for and applauded the darkly funny young woman at the center of this stunning debut.
— Amy Hempel, author of The Dog of the Marriage & Reasons to Live
Wreck and Order is suffused with an essential intelligence that makes even the most challenging of journeys sing.
— Rikva Galchen, author of American Innovations & Atmospheric Disturbances
Hannah Tennant-Moore has created an unforgettable character: a deeply sensitive millennial who has internalized the culture’s tendencies to objectify and degrade the female body, even as she’s intellectually embattled against those very same tendencies. She’s a new kind of feminist; she tallies orgasms received and given with the scrupulous attention and fury second wave feminists devoted to the counting of dishes washed, beds made, and meals cooked. A fearless, far ranging exploration of a contemporary young woman’s sexuality and ambition, which covers continents, includes even a proper engagement, and questions the nature of happiness and endings.
— Mona Simpson, author of Anywhere But Here & Casebook
After Abu Ghraib and Bagram and Guantanamo, I knew what I would do. Feel rage, shame, disgust, loneliness, helplessness, sorrow, despair, great and debilitating hatred for everyone who did not also feel these things.’ This is the heterodox and unnerving but touching narrator of Wreck and Order. Read this carnal picaresque novel for—its daring, its passages of unsparing self- interrogation, its sharp rendering of locale and lives in Sri Lanka. Not every kink in this young woman’s quest is made straight by the time you reach the end, but that’s the way you want it to be when you get there.
— Norman Rush, National Book Award-winning author of Mating & Subtle Bodies
On a good note, the cover is stunning, it has deckled pages, and is just 290 pages. So it should be a fast read if you enjoy the genre and can get on board with the writing.
This title was provided by Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.