Simon McDonald reviews Peach, which marks the arrival of a visionary new voice.
Emma Glass’s Peach is an emotionally raw and wrenching debut about a young woman’s struggles in the aftermath of her rape. Lyrically crafted, it’s a book that lures you in with its poetic paragraphs, then steals the breath from your lungs with its gritty portrayal of a shattered human psyche.
When we are introduced to Peach, a college student, she is stumbling home in the dark after an apparent sexual assault. In excruciating detail, using clipped prose, Glass describes Peach stopping to be sick, the blood leaking from between her legs, and the scraping of her knuckles along a wall.
Glass controls the pace expertly, lulling readers with her poetry, then viscerally detailing the cold, horrible reality of Peach’s situation. In the pages that follow, we meet the important people in her life largely, oblivious to her anguish; her doting boyfriend, Green; her creepily sex-obsessed parents; her infant brother. Understandably unhinged by her ordeal, struggling to come to terms with her assault, Peach starts to see the people around her as food, her attacker Lincoln in particular, who she envisions as a sausage, greasy and fat. With her stress burgeoning rather than subsiding, Peach decides to take matters into her own hands, before Lincoln can destroy the life she knows. The result is as surreal as it is horrific.
With Peach, Emma Glass has created an unsettling work of fiction. It is utterly mesmerising and bold, and haunting.