Wetlands by Charlotte Roche Fourth Estate HK$114 Wetlands is one of those novels that seems to spring from nowhere and is suddenly everywhere you look. In fact, like Bernhard Schlink, Roche hails from Germany and like Schlink's The Reader, Wetlands (Feuchtgebiete) has caused a sensation home and away. The reason presents itself smartly: 'As far back as I can remember, I've had haemorrhoids.' I would love to say this sentence loses something in translation, but not enough for my taste. An in-depth discussion of zinc cream application ensues, setting the tone for this piece of anal lit. Whereas Wordsworth was inspired by nature, Roche's muse exists where the sun don't shine. 'Back to shaving my ass,' she says, as if her imagination has ever left the derriere. Normally those fixated with their bowels tend to be of advanced years but Roche's heroine is 18-year-old Helen Memel, whose parents have split up. Given their offspring, this is hardly a surprise. When she is not plotting to reunite mutter und vater, Helen likes nothing better than to commit obscene acts with a bedpost. I suspect this was intended to be erotic, shocking or both, but frankly I was too bored to care.