Dark, gripping and mystifying!

  • Book: Wreaking
  • Location: England
  • Author: James Scudamore

Review Author: aditi3991



“When you’re the only sane person, you look like the only insane person.”
—–Criss Jami, an American author

And that’s probably what I was feeling about myself while reading this extraordinarily unique novel of James Scudamore, called Wreaking, which is based on the lives and past of three hermitical characters revolving around a desolate and forgotten psychiatric hospital, named Wreaking on the English coast. An eerie and creepy tale, at the same time, an enthralling and captivating tale which will pull you into its very psychotic core and leave you with a claustrophobic feeling into the preposterous and freakish world of three deranged characters.

PS: And you are the only sane individual among these set of insane characters.

Jasper, Cleo, Ronald, Oliver, Carol, Mona & Victor-all these seven absurd and freakish characters together contribute and establish that undying bond of attachment and liking among the readers with this psychotic asylum, Wreaking. There is no synopsis to this novel, the more you turn the pages, the more it reveals its secrets and the hidden and forgotten tales that make Wreaking, the book, weirdly interesting. It is about the past that you cannot let go of it, and about those dead and most loved individuals who are holding and clinging on to too tightly and without your knowledge, these factors happen to affect your life so strikingly.

Past: Jasper Scriven, an ex-teacher and a victim of lung disease, lives in the dilapidated mental asylum, Wreaking, in the south of England, which he bought with his dead wife’s money, intending to turn it into a private school. Flash forward to the present: But now his dream seems lost and forgotten just like the crumbling and shabby corridors of Wreaking and he collects case histories about the patients once resided in Wreaking and pens them down to incorporate a book of his own. Apart from recollecting the case histories, Jasper ponders upon the lives of individuals, especially, his estranged daughter, Cleo.

Cleo, who has one real and one false eye, earns her living as a video editor, is secretly watched by Roland who is a disaffected underworld perpetrator, and works with a nasty wheelchair bound pornographer, Victor. And Roland’s great friend, Oliver used to pop-by Wreaking to take drugs or smash things up. Roland’s mother, Mona, used to be a nurse in Wreaking and now she we see her as the alter-ego of Carol, who used to be a patient of Wreaking. All these characters contribute to “the accident” in Wreaking and the whole story revolves around “the accident”.

Scudamore’s purpose to portray these characters was to create confusion among our minds and not to let the readers judge them. As the plot advances, Scudamore crafts a morass of seedy and unpleasant past which seems like it is happening in the present. And Scudamore has a deep psychological grip on his characters, which are portrayed as multifaceted, flawed and sympathetic human beings, all achingly vulnerable, all wracked by fear and need and guilt. This book will leave you frustrated but then again in the climax, you might feel good about its effects.

Read this to understand the underlying beauty in this deep, emotional tale about a mental asylum, Wreaking.

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750 - 3000 words with strong 'sense of place' theme

Short story, travelogue, or memoir

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