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Into a Blazing Oven

Lili Owen Rowlands: Virginie Despentes, 17 December 2020

Vernon Subutex Three 
by Virginie Despentes, translated by Frank Wynne.
MacLehose, 306 pp., £14.99, June, 978 0 85705 982 6
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... white, but mostly still there. It’s Paris, 2014. When we meet him in the first volume of Virginie Despentes’s trilogy, Vernon is about to be kicked out of his apartment after losing his job running a record shop called Revolver – a victim of Napster. For a while he kept up with the choreography of the French welfare system – applying for ...

A Girl and a Gun

Jenny Turner: Revenge Feminism, 10 October 2013

Apocalypse Baby 
by Virginie Despentes, translated by Siân Reynolds.
Serpent’s Tail, 338 pp., £8.99, June 2013, 978 1 84668 842 3
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... so ‘ill at ease’ in yourself? You might do worse than get into the surveillance industry, Virginie Despentes suggests in Apocalypse Baby, spying on the unhappy teenage children of rich Parisians. The sector is booming and dullness and directionlessness are a plus. Lucie has been working as a snooper for two years now: ‘A kid can’t smoke a ...

It belonged to us

Theo Tait: Tristan Garcia, 17 March 2011

Hate: A Romance 
by Tristan Garcia, translated by Marion Duvert and Lorin Stein.
Faber, 273 pp., £12.99, February 2011, 978 0 571 25183 4
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... novels that have sold well in the English-speaking world, by authors such as Michel Houellebecq, Virginie Despentes and Frédéric Beigbeder. But even by these standards, Garcia’s debut cuts a dash. Hate confidently re-creates the Paris gay scene of the late 1980s and early 1990s, along with the wider political disappointments and subcultural ...

Strut like Mutya

Nicole Flattery: Paul Mendez, 22 October 2020

Rainbow Milk 
by Paul Mendez.
Dialogue, 353 pp., £14.99, April, 978 0 349 70059 5
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... that Jesse’s sex work isn’t altogether alien from the writerly life to which he aspires. Virginie Despentes makes the case for the resemblance in her polemic, King Kong Theory:There is a genuine connection between writing and prostitution. Emancipating yourself, doing that which isn’t done, opening up your private self, laying yourself open to ...

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