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Pretty Things: Riffraff

  • Riffraff Bookstore 60 Valley St #107A, Providence, RI 02909 United States (map)


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

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

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.

Earlier Event: September 27
Tenemental: Barrington Public Library
Later Event: October 2
The Feminist Power Awards