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.
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.
Wreck and Order is suffused with an essential intelligence that makes even the most challenging of journeys sing.
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.
‘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.