PrintE-mail Written by Scott Varnham

Review: Peeled and Quartered / Author: Jessica Rowe / Publisher: Auspicious Coney Productions / Release Date: Out Now

When we first sat down to read Peeled and Quartered, we weren’t sure what to expect. But what the hell, the whole book is only 62 pages long - why not give it a shot? It’s about a guy called Melvin (named, rather touchingly, for Rowe’s late grandfather) who’s tasked with drilling to the centre of a strange planet named Oranche to obtain a seed.

Turns out that what appeared to be a quirky and intriguing take on the common or garden orange is actually a dark exploration of mental illness. Unfortunately, in this case what appears to be sweet and appetising on the surface is actually decaying, disturbing and mouldy on the inside.  

This is a good tale well told. It does have some pitfalls (such as when the narrator names parts of oranges as if she’s working for the Orange Advisory Board) and the fact that the second half reads more like a summary of a novel rather than a short story but it’s a short read that gives a fascinating insight into how those afflicted with alcoholism and substance abuse live their lives. Even if they don't all go on a journey to the centre of an orange.

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