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VIRGINIE DESPENTES is the writer and codirector of Baise-Moi, the controversial rape-revenge novel that became the basis for a notorious film by the same name. Born in Paris, she now lives in Barcelona.

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Apocalypse Baby

Virginie Despentes

Translated by Sian Reynolds

France's most notorious feminist writer gives us Apocalypse Baby, a raucous road trip in which two mismatched private investigators--the Hyena, a mysterious and ruthless vigilante, and Lucie, an apathetic and resentful slacker--cruise the streets of Paris and Barcelona in search of a missing girl. The duo questions a cast of unsavory characters, exposing lust, violence, greed, and disillusionment, and the corruption of contemporary youth culture. As their desperate search unfolds, we careen toward a conclusion no one could have anticipated.

"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, which is replete with wily shifts in point of view, swift and trenchant characterizations, and a buoyant, even comedic energy laced with mordant cultural and psychological insights throughout. In the end, 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 griefs, unease, and unclarity."

—Maggie Nelson, author of The Art of Cruelty and professor at the California Institute of the Arts

"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."


"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, writer and musician