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Vernon Subutex, 1

(Vernon Subutex #1)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  3,902 ratings  ·  359 reviews
Vernon Subutex: the man, the myth, the punk-lit sensation.

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 frie
Paperback, 352 pages
Published June 29th 2017 by Maclehose Press (first published January 7th 2015)
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3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,902 ratings  ·  359 reviews

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Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOVED this book – Virginie Despentes wrote a wonderfully mean, cutting-edge social novel that sheds light on contemporary French society, with a story full of vivid characters, but devoid of heroes, full of disparate voices, but creating an astonishing panorama. While I feel like I need to read parts II and III ASAP, I am also afraid of what will happen next, because this unsettling story viciously attacks its readers: I got angry, I was sad, I laughed, I was shocked, and I while I was glued t ...more
Félicitations à Virginie Despentes, qui a enfin réussi à convaincre un éditeur probablement aussi génial que taré de baser une nouvelle publication sur sa seule véritable originalité en tant qu'écrivain : son procédé de 'digression protagoniste'.

Je m'explique : chez Despentes, on a toujours une narration qui dérive du fil principal de l'action, pour adopter l'espace de quelques pages la vie d'un personnage qui deviendra peut-être important, ou qui restera tout à fait anecdotique. Parfois c'est m
Apr 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my fourth book from the Man Booker International longlist, and if my friends in The Mookse and the Gripes group are typical, it is also the one which is dividing opinions the most. It is very much a book of its time and place - 21st Century Paris, and it is lively, fearless, funny and often tasteless.

Despentes has created a world of grotesque caricatures who embody the most extreme characteristics of our social-media-driven world. Like the people she satirises, her characters are frequen
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“-No sabíamos que íbamos a cagarla hasta ese punto, ¿verdad?
-De haberlo sabido, ¿qué habría cambiado?”

Vernon Subutex bien podría ser el nombre de una anfetamina, estimula el sistema nervioso y crea adición. Si lo que quiere es que en su conciencia no reine más rey que la seguridad este no es su sitio.

Vernon Subutex es el nombre, ahora sí, de un cuarentón que tras haber regentado una tienda de discos durante más de veinte años se ha quedado en el paro y va dando tumbos de casa en casa de amig
Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, yes, Vernon. Let’s take a look at him. When you are familiar with circles such as Vernon’s, the guy will feel real to you. He did to me! He is a likeable guy. A guy who gets around with everyone. He’s aloof, he’s easy to talk to, he is good company. Vernon has a big plus to boot, he has beautiful blue eyes. People trust him just looking into those eyes. But when you get down to it, Vernon does not attract any real commitment from his friends because he has never given any true commitment i ...more
Review of Vernon Subutex 1, 2 and 3.

Earlier in the year, I read a review of the first book in this series, and, as sometimes happens, the reviewer's negative experience made me perversely curious to read the book for myself. I'm grateful to him now for inadvertently pushing me towards a long reading adventure I might otherwise never have embarked on.
Part of my motivation to read Despentes' books was the sneaking suspicion that the reviewer's many valid-sounding points about language, style and
Jun 13, 2018 rated it really liked it

Well, I burned through this book like a crazy person. It has that frenetic, out of control feeling I got from reading Trainspotting back in the 90s. Vernon Subutex is a searing kaleidoscope of modern Paris, and not the romanticised version of chic bistro's, wine and moonlight cruising on the Seine.
There is no getting around that this book is written to be provocative, to emerge you in sub-cultures and mindsets of marginalised lifestyles you may be not want to inhabit. I did struggle with t
Im Zentrum dieses sehr zynischen Einblicks in die französische Gesellschaft steht Vernon Subutex, ehemals Inhaber eines Plattenlandens, den als Technologieverlierer der Internet-Onlinehandel aus seinem Job und seiner Kernkompetenz gefegt hat. Nun ist seine Expertise nicht mehr nützlich, er wird durch die Umstände zu wenig brauchbarem Menschenschrott, eine Weile hält er sich noch durch die Sozialhilfe über Wasser, aber irgendwann ist auch damit Schluss, er verliert diese und damit auch postwenden ...more
Mar 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-mbi, 2018, 5-stars
If you are a lover of the movie Magnolia (I think it is my favourite movie), then I imagine you are going to enjoy reading about Vernon Subutex. This is a story of modern day France told in picaresque fashion using an array of characters whose lives cross paths as they deal with their own personal demons and circumstances. It is not a happy story, but it is completely engrossing: it is raw, sometimes painful to read.

The eponymous Vernon Subutex used to run a record store (the book is full of ref
Paul Fulcher
Mar 23, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Inexplicably shortlisted for the MBI, but thanks to Amazon for giving me a full refund on the grounds of 'offensiveness to literature'.

She uses young people’s words, says them without yet knowing how ridiculous they are. She says “swear down”, she says “on fleek”, she says “bae”, and he recognises the fervent foolishness of people who feel the need to put the same expressions in every sentence.

While not a big fan generally, one advantage of the Kindle is that one can easily read previews of book
While I was in the middle of Vernon Subutex One, a book called Destroy All Monsters: The Last Rock Novel appeared in my Goodreads feed. (Thanks Kris.) Vernon Subutex has a strong claim to that subtitle too. In English it's so far been pigeonholed as translated literary fiction about the state of modern life / Western Europe / France / Paris (depending how specific you think its types are), and its Booker International shortlisting cements this - but just as much as being a perceptive take on con ...more
Jonathan Pool
Apr 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: international
How this book wrestled itself onto the Man Booker International Prize short list for 2018 is something of a mystery.
Don’t come looking for beautiful prose, don’t come looking for subtlety, don’t expect too much human empathy.
What you do get is a callous, selfish, remorselessly pessimistic view of people.

I am very pleased to have read Vernon Subutex.

Had I not known the gender of the author I couldn’t have guessed it; and in this respect- Virginie Despentes’s ability to write alternately from male
Olga Kowalska (WielkiBuk)
Polish version: Czy „Vernon Subutex” jest w jakiś sposób odkrywczy? Czy jest nowatorski w przesłaniu? Z pewnością nie, bo francuska literatura krzyczy od zawsze, jednak głos Virginie Despentes pozostaje jednym z najbardziej słyszalnych, najintensywniejszych w tym zbuntowanym nurcie francuskiej Nowej Fali. Ona nie boi się przerywać milczenia anarchistycznym wrzaskiem przerażenia – w jej prozie nie ma miejsca na obojętność, nie ma miejsca na „chyba”, „być może”. Tutaj jest jak jest i trzeba to pow ...more
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think it's worth starting this view with a caveat: If you don't like drug taking in your books then this is not the book for you. If you need likeable and relatable characters with views that are not at odds with your own then this is also probably not for you. But if you can overcome those issues then this is an engaging look at the Parisian music world and some of the characters that move in it.

I'll admit that at times I struggled with Vernon Subutex, 1, even having to put it aside for a day
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Perhaps the most divisively polarizing book of the year amongst my GR coterie, I didn't LOVE-love it as much as some, but I would say I definitely enjoyed it and found it quite intriguing, and fast-moving. I had no problems with the harsh language or the more scandalous elements; my main annoyances came from not really relating to much of what was going on or to the particular political/punk/druggie subculture (being an older bougie American, and all), and having a hard time keeping the multitud ...more
Jan 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: low-life
Avis à chaud : Compte-rendu au vitriol d'une longue descente annoncée, qui ne manque pas pour autant d'une fraternelle humanité. Un beau nuancier de caractères, dommage qu'ils n'accèdent pas à un autre stade que celui de caractères, justement. Un amical tribut à la culture rock, aussi.
Quelque chose qui me remue dans l'odyssée nomade de Vernon, en cavale d'appartement en appartement, dans un premier temps sans intégrer sa condition de sans-abri.

Contribution à la Playlist de Vernon :
L'Europe - Noi
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars rounded up to 4 stars

Virginie Despentes’ Vernon Subutex One stands as a custom-fit contemporary sequel to George Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London. On the last page of his 1933 memoir, Orwell says: ”My story ends here. It is a fairly trivial story, and I can only hope that it has been interesting in the same way as a travel diary is interesting. I can at least say, Here is the world that awaits you if you are ever penniless. . . I can definitely point to one or two things I hav
Katie Long
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Oh how I loved this book! I spent the early 2000's reading every Irvine Welsh novel that I could get my hands on, trying to recreate my first experience reading Trainspotting. It didn't work until all of these years later when I met Vernon Subutex. As caustic and bitter as this novel often is, it isn't without moments of tenderness that broke my heart and made me cry with sympathy and understanding. The translated Book 2 will be available on July 18 and I already have my order in!
Mientras Leo
May 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Me ha encantado, el estilo, el tema, la trama.
Lástima tener que esperar un año para el siguiente.
3.5 étoiles. Ce livre est un peu un OVNI. Difficile de le noter avant d'avoir lu la suite, car pour le moment je ne vois pas bien le propos de Despentes. Il y a beaucoup de sexe, de violence et des tonnes de cynisme dans ce livre. Aucun personnage n'est aimable - en ce sens il m'a rappelé Une place à prendre de J.K. Rowling - mais on ne peut s'empêcher de s'intéresser à ce qui va leur arriver, et d'être désolé quand ça tourne mal pour eux. Je n'ai pas eu l'impression de lire un portrait très exh ...more
Sep 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french
A kaleidoscope of stories about a good many people that are somehow connected. The main character, which acts as a glue, is Vernon, who looses his record shop and eventually ends up as a tramp in Paris. The stories are sometimes surprising, sometimes moving, but always well written. As an example, the life of an overweight adolescent girl is described so accurately and sensitively, leaving the reader effortlessly sharing her feelings.

Annoyingly, the author consistently uses the term "logarithme
Gavin Armour
Drogen und Sex und Sex und Drogen und Drogen und Sex…nach ca. 150 Seiten dieses hochgelobten Werkes fragt man sich als geneigter Leser, ob das wirklich das Buch ist, über das angeblich ganz Frankreich diskutiert und das uns endlich alles erklärt über den Aufstieg des "Front National" und die gesellschaftliche Realität im Nachbarland. Und dann: Drogen und Sex.

Als habe es das noch nie gegeben, präsentiert Virginie Despentes in der ersten Hälfte ihres Romans ein Gemisch aus Zynikern und sich extre
Apr 27, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-big-books
Review coming...
Gumble's Yard
DNF - simply not for me, a kind of anti Philippians 4:8 and one of the rare books I will not pass on to my local Oxfam bookstore.
May 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Impresionante novela de presentación de personajes de lo que supones es una trilogía. Cada personaje es un mundo y el lector olvida la trama, la muerte de Alex, perdiéndose en esos mundos. No sé que tiene Despentes en su forma de narrar que te hace seguir y seguir leyendo. Despacio pero sin pausa. Pensando en cada personaje de los que te presenta. Imprescindible.
Esperando con ganas Vernon Subutex 2
What a fantastic ride - this book pushed all the right buttons for me. It's a direct, raw novel about the current social and socially conditions in France (which sadly can be transferred to many other European countries as well, especially what's with the right-wing idiots gaining strength) and a rich kaleidoscope of diverse characters. The book opens with the titular Vernon, an ex-record store owner who just lost pretty much everything he had: First, his job, next, his benefactor (the late Alex ...more
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Un libro fascinante y ,me atrevo a decir , de lo mejor que he leído sobre la sociedad actual (sea francesa, de aquí, o de cualquier país de eso que damos en llamar Europa), y sobre ese momento que frisa entre los treinta y muchos y los cuarenta y muchos donde uno se plantea cuál es el sentido del personaje que lleva construyendo toda su vida, y , ¡ay!, si finalmente tiene sentido (y como se busca llenar ese sentido con algo: droga, sexo, responsabilidad, hijos, filantropía, dinero, poder, cin
Jun 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Vernon Subutex” is part I of a trilogy by (in)famous French writer Virginie Despentes. The novel tells the story of Vernon Subutex (former record shop owner, not his real name) and his descent into hard times.

Each chapter in the novel visits either Subutex or a friend or acquaintance connected to Subutex. Each personality is an attempt by Despentes to offer us a portrait of the underbelly of Paris; you meet skinheads, drug dealers, porno stars, homeless people, washed up rock stars, etc.

If you
Jan 05, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: europa
Un libro sumamente triste que lleva los temores modernos a una historia.
La decadencia de Vernon es deprimente, pero en el mundo que pinta Despentes no sabes en realidad si los que están a salvo de quedarse sin techo, están mejor o peor que los que no.
Una historia pesimista y gris, con algo de humor, que a momentos no sabía si abandonar, pero me gustó no haberlo hecho, la segunda parte se pone mejor, aunque en realidad es un espiral siempre hacia abajo.
J'ai enfin fini ce livre. Le style de l'autrice est indéniablement lourdingue, vulgaire et 'simple'.
Impossibilité totale à faire de l'empathie pour qui que ce soit, et oui, même pour Vernon.
Aucun fil conducteur, ça n'a pas de sens, il y'a 150 personnages qui pof, disparaissent d'un coup; bref : boring.
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The Mookse and th...: 2018 MBI Shortlist: Vernon Subutex 1 65 80 May 25, 2018 01:25AM  
  • Zaï zaï zaï zaï
  • Die, My Love
  • Moon in a Dead Eye
  • Serotonin
  • Der fliegende Berg
  • Street of Thieves
  • Como la sombra que se va
  • Minor Angels
  • Some Dream for Fools
  • Le Côté de Guermantes I
  • L'Insouciance
  • Colline
  • Die Hungrigen und die Satten
  • Die Welt voran
  • Limonov
  • Returning to Reims
  • Brazil Red
  • Selbstporträt mit Flusspferd
Virginie Despentes is a French writer, novelist and filmmaker, born in Nancy, Meurthe-et-Moselle. Her most famous novel, and film of the same name is Baise-moi, a contemporary example of the exploitation films genre known as rape and revenge films. Her most recent biographical, non-fiction work, King Kong Theory has also been translated into English, and recounts her experiences working within the ...more

Other books in the series

Vernon Subutex (3 books)
  • Vernon Subutex, 2 (Vernon Subutex, #2)
  • Vernon Subutex 3 (Vernon Subutex, #3)
“La vie se joue souvent en deux manches: dans un premier temps, elle t'endort en te faisant croire que tu gères, et sur la deuxième partie, quand elle te voit détendu et désarmé, elle repasse les plats et te défonce.” 1 likes
“Elle aimait L7, Hole, 7 Year bitch, et d'autres trucs assez atroces, que seules les filles peuvent écouter” 1 likes
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