Vernon Subutex 1
By Virginie Despentes
The cult French social satire that has taken Europe by storm, and cast a penetrating light on the dark underbelly of modern urban life.
LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL 2018
WHO IS VERNON SUBUTEX?
An urban legend. A fall from grace. The mirror who reflects us all.
Vernon Subutex was once the proprietor of Revolver, an infamous music shop in Bastille. His legend spread throughout Paris. But by the 2000s his shop is struggling. With his savings gone, his unemployment benefit cut, and the friend who had been covering his rent suddenly dead, Vernon Subutex finds himself down and out on the Paris streets.
He has one final card up his sleeve. Even as he holds out his hand to beg for the first time, a throwaway comment he once made on Facebook is taking the internet by storm. Vernon does not realise this, but the word is out: Vernon Subutex has in his possession the last filmed recordings of Alex Bleach, the famous musician and Vernon's benefactor, who has only just died of a drug overdose. A crowd of people from record producers to online trolls and porn stars are now on Vernon's trail.
Translated from the French by Frank Wynne
Virginie Despentes is a writer and filmmaker, and former maid, sex worker, and freelance rock journalist. Her first novel, Baise-Moi, the controversial rape-revenge story, was published in 1992 and adapted for film in 2000. Upon release it became the first film to be banned in France for twenty-eight years. She is the author of over fifteen further works, including Apocalypse Baby (2010) and Bye Bye Blondie (2004), and the autobiographical essay, King Kong Theory (2006).
- Other details
- Publication date:
29 Jun 2017
- Page count:
Part social epic, part punk rock thriller, Vernon Subutex is a remarkable portrait of contemporary society... written with a fury that hits right to the bone — Christine Ferniot, Télérama
Bold and sophisticated, this thrilling, magnificently audacious picaresque is about France and is also about all of us; how loudly we shout, how badly we hurt. It is the story of now. — Eileen Battersby, Irish Times
Vernon Subutex is a great novel because, quite simply, it disturbs you. Despentes is an extraordinary writer — François Busnel, Express
Sex, drugs and 90s punk rock: Vernon Subutex is the Comédie Humaine for our time, produced by the furious talent of Virginie Despentes — Laurence Houot, Culturebox
A masterful blending of characters, voices and plots with an undeniable sense of changing rhythms. This is not just a novel, it's an electrocardiogram — Etienne de Montety, Figaro
A mind-blowing portrait of contemporary French society — Nelly Kaprièlian, Les Inrocks
A vast mural of the world today. We all knew Despentes could write, but we were not expecting this — Frédéric Beigbeder, Figaro magazine
An energetic, diverting romp . . . Brimming with sex, violence and deviant behaviour . . . [and] a multitude of sharply delineated characters . . . Often surprises us with its psychological acuity. — David Mills, Sunday Times.