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Apocalypse Baby
Cover of Apocalypse Baby
Apocalypse Baby

"Virginie Despentes's Apocalypse Baby kept me up several nights in a row—in part because it's a terrific page-turner, and in part because I was anxious to see how Despentes would sustain her narrative ride. Apocalypse Baby is more than a compelling punk, queerish spin on the noir genre. It is a choral performance that tumbles its readers into the heart of violent spectacle, with all its attendant grief, unease, and unclarity."—Maggie Nelson, author of The Art of Cruelty and professor at the California Institute of the Arts

"Virginie Despentes's social criticism is blistering, but her prose is laid-back. Apocalypse Baby is an addictive feminist thriller that reads like shameless gossip from your smartest friend."—Johanna Fateman

Apocalypse Baby is a smart, fast-paced mystery about a missing adolescent girl traveling through Paris and Barcelona. She is tailed by two mismatched private investigators: the Hyena, part ruthless interrogator, part oversexed rock star, and Lucie, her plain and passive—almost to the point of invisible—sidekick. As their desperate search unfolds, they interrogate a suspicious cast of characters, and the dark heart of contemporary youth culture is exposed.

Cult author and filmmaker Virginie Despentes has written many award-winning books, including King Kong Theory, and Apocalypse Baby, which won the 2010 Prix Renaudot when it was first published in France. She is the co-director of the screen adaptations of her controversial novels Baise-Moi and Bye Bye Blondie.|

Part thriller, part road-movie, part romance, Apocalypse Baby is a riotous detective novel from cult author and film-maker Virginie Despentes.

"Virginie Despentes's Apocalypse Baby kept me up several nights in a row—in part because it's a terrific page-turner, and in part because I was anxious to see how Despentes would sustain her narrative ride. Apocalypse Baby is more than a compelling punk, queerish spin on the noir genre. It is a choral performance that tumbles its readers into the heart of violent spectacle, with all its attendant grief, unease, and unclarity."—Maggie Nelson, author of The Art of Cruelty and professor at the California Institute of the Arts

"Virginie Despentes's social criticism is blistering, but her prose is laid-back. Apocalypse Baby is an addictive feminist thriller that reads like shameless gossip from your smartest friend."—Johanna Fateman

Apocalypse Baby is a smart, fast-paced mystery about a missing adolescent girl traveling through Paris and Barcelona. She is tailed by two mismatched private investigators: the Hyena, part ruthless interrogator, part oversexed rock star, and Lucie, her plain and passive—almost to the point of invisible—sidekick. As their desperate search unfolds, they interrogate a suspicious cast of characters, and the dark heart of contemporary youth culture is exposed.

Cult author and filmmaker Virginie Despentes has written many award-winning books, including King Kong Theory, and Apocalypse Baby, which won the 2010 Prix Renaudot when it was first published in France. She is the co-director of the screen adaptations of her controversial novels Baise-Moi and Bye Bye Blondie.|

Part thriller, part road-movie, part romance, Apocalypse Baby is a riotous detective novel from cult author and film-maker Virginie Despentes.

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Awards-
About the Author-
  • Virginie Despentes is the author of many award-winning books, including King Kong Theory. She co-directed the screen adaptations of her controversial novels Baise-Moi and Bye Bye Blondie. Apocalypse Baby, her sixth novel, won the 2010 Prix Renaudot when it was first published in France.
    Sian Reynolds has translated many books on French history, including most of the works of Fernand Braudel. Recent translations include fiction by Virginie Despentes, Antonin Varenne and French crime novelist, Fred Vargas. Four Vargas translations have been awarded the Crime Writers' Association International Dagger (2006, 2007, 2009, 2013).

Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    February 15, 2015
    Structured like a classic noir, this French novel exposes the rotten core of contemporary European society through the perspectives of several female characters. When she loses track of Valentine, the rich teenager she's been hired to follow, Parisian private eye Lucie Toledo makes contact with the Hyena, an aggressive lesbian freelance investigator, and they travel from Paris to Barcelona (and back again) in their search, encountering orgies, nuns and repressed housewives along the way. Despentes' (King Kong Theory, 2010, etc.) novel was first published in France in 2010 and is being translated into English for the first time. There are classic elements of noir-the PI, the femme fatale, the family full of secrets and repression, the chance encounter with a lover who might just save the damaged hero(ine). And in many ways, these are the elements that most succeed; within these familiar tropes, Despentes explores deeply flawed but interesting characters; the limits of traditional female roles; the ravages of the European class system; the challenge of Internet control; and the destructive self-indulgence of a youth culture that lacks its own deeply held beliefs and is, as such, easily manipulated by the darkest authority. But the climax of the novel sends the dense, exaggerated narrative fully off the rails. The dystopian final chapter wants to inhabit the world of science fiction rather than noir, and the genre clash leaves a rather unsatisfactory taste behind. Powerful and empowered to a point, but this could have used sharper editing.

  • L'Express "It has everything: the nervous, ironic, vivid style of Baise-Moi... her sharp gaze on society and its divisions, her empathy for the poor wretches who compose it... an indefinable thriller, combing pulp and social chronicle."
  • Music & Literature "A model for the revolutionary figure... Grander than life."
  • Three Percent blog "Apocalypse Baby does not drift. It propels forward, hardly taking a breath."
  • Lambda Literary Review "This is a book written to make the reader think, to challenge assumptions and provide no easy answer or understanding."
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    The Feminist Press at CUNY
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