Pretty Things

Pretty Things

14.36 17.95

Virginie Despentes
A pulpy tale of mismatched twins struggling to embody the "perfect woman."


Paperback Edition
Publication Date: 08-15-2018

Translated by Emma Ramadan

Claudine has always been pretty and Pauline has always been ugly. But when Claudine wants to become famous, she convinces gloomy Pauline—with her angelic voice—to pretend they’re the same person. Yet just as things take off, Claudine commits suicide.

Pauline hatches a new scheme, pulling on her dead sister’s identity, inhabiting her apartment, and reading her mail. As the impersonation continues, Pauline slowly realizes that the cost of femininity is to dazzle on the outside while rotting away on the inside—and that womanhood is what ultimately killed her sister.

Pretty Things is the type of rare, enticing book you devour in a fever, caught up in how blatantly, wickedly fun it is to watch these characters chase down their own ruin. Effortlessly cool and slyly spiky, Despentes probes the dynamics of fame, beauty, and female competition, putting her finger on the pulse of what it’s like to wear the daily drag of femininity—and then pressing down, slowly and calmly, right where it hurts.” —Alexandra Kleeman, author of You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine

Pretty Things is a biting commentary on the devil’s bargain of conforming to modern femininity. Intensely visual and viscerally felt, Despentes presents a sort of parodic male gaze of narration that piles sentences and clauses upon the reader like so many layers of makeup. By the end you’re left wondering what, exactly, the end result of this game of gender is all for, and what has been lost along the way.” —Vanessa Martini, City Lights Bookstore