BRIEF novel? Terse novella? Work of art? If one had to plump for one of the three to describe this debut piece of fiction it would have to be the latter. Emma Glass’s work is most certainly located at the one-off, indubitably unique end of the literary spectrum. It is a bold and brave experiment, and it works.
Pinning it down isn’t easy. It wriggles like a larva on a pin.
A student, the eponymous Peach has been attacked by a sexual predator and gets no sympathy from her sex mad parents. Alone, she stitches up the tears in her body. The little solace she finds in the company of her boyfriend Green is stolen from her when Green is attacked in turn, and hospitalised. In an already dark tale the shadows then continue to darken as Peach is stalked by her attacker, until, that, is she murders him and then dismembers the greasy body. Her family ends up eating the contents of black bin bags stuffed with sausage meat at a barbeque. You get the horrific drift.
But reducing this terse story, which weighs in at fewer than 100 pages to the plot is to lose its core and unsettling strength, its out-and-out weirdness, its psychology of upset and disturbance. The attacker is described, phallically enough, as a sausage so that Peach remembers elements of the attack like this:
‘I see black. His black mouth. A slit in the skin. Open. Gaping. Burnt black. Burnt flesh. And his charcoal breath clinging to my skin. Suffocating. The tears slide over the grease and off my face. My body buzzes.’