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Pretty Things

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3.48  ·  Rating details ·  529 ratings  ·  43 reviews

Stunning Claudine and gloomy Pauline pretend to be one person so that Claudine can be famous, but just as things take off, Claudine commits suicide. Pauline hatches a new scheme, taking on her dead sister’s identity, inhabiting her apartment, and reading her emails—slowly realizing the cost of femininity is to dazzle on the outside while rotting on the inside.

Paperback, 224 pages
Published August 14th 2018 by The Feminist Press at CUNY (first published January 1st 1998)
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Average rating 3.48  · 
Rating details
 ·  529 ratings  ·  43 reviews


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Sam
May 24, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This wasn't a bad book but it did not appeal to my tastes, nor do I think I was the intended audience. I will trust other reviewers in their claims that there are better books available by this author.
Krumpet
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autrice
Détester la terre entière tout en cherchant à plaire.
Chercher le pouvoir, écraser, baiser.
Se déguiser, jouer un rôle, s'oublier.
BookCupid
Dec 30, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french-lit
If I had a twin, we would switch places...

When Pauline's identical twin sister dies, she doesn't think twice about taking over her life. Claudine owed her that much, after using her voice to get ahead in the music business. So now, Pauline wants to get paid and then disappear. But as Pauline enters Claudine's life she begins to understand why her sister committed suicide and soon spirals out of control. Will Pauline end up with the same fate?

Although, the premise did look good, Pauline
...more
Agnese
May 04, 2019 rated it liked it
I like her writing style and some of the satirical observations, but I think her Vernon Subutex books are far better.
José Vicente
Durante el primer tercio o más del libro la autora estaba consiguiendo caerme tan mal como Houellebeq y por la misma razón: la falta de empatía con el mundo mundial. Luego ves que guarda un rescoldo de compasión hacia sus personajes a pesar de las carretadas de miseria que arrastran.

Lo voy a intentar con Teoría King Kong a ver qué pasa.

Camille
Virginie Despentes est incernable ; je le dis comme un compliment. J'ai déjà lu différents ouvrages d'elle, à différentes époques de ma vie, qu'elle a elle-même écrits à différentes époques de sa vie. C'est peut-être tous ces décalages qui font que, tantôt j'adore ce qu'elle fait, tantôt je ne comprends vraiment pas l'engouement général.
Par exemple, je suis prête à entendre que j'ai probablement lu Baise-moi trop jeune, et trop inconsciente, pour vraiment en percevoir la portée. Je veux vraimen
...more
Liz
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I give 2.5 stars. For whatever reason I was in the mood for reading something really bitchy, and this hit the mark in a truly glorious way. It's an odd book though; I don't think I will be shoving it in people's hands being like, You've gotta read this... I think I will check out more stuff by this author though!

None of the characters are sympathetic, a lot of the "plot developments" are a bit unbelievable... but I feel like this is the kind of book you would read for STYLE, not for characters and plo
...more
Lanika
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
deea ene
Dec 02, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Adam  McPhee
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france
Don't get me wrong, Despentes rules. The Guardian said of her, "Despentes has a compassion and a comic timing that Houellebecq lacks," and when she's at her best I'm inclined to agree. But this isn't her best. Skip it and read Apocalypse Baby or Bye Bye Blondie instead.

The part near the end where (view spoiler) was kind of funny.

...more
Granny Sebestyen
Jun 02, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Bonjour les lecteurs ….
Décidément, je crois que Virgine Despentes et moi, ne sommes pas faites pour nous entendre.
Je l'avais découverte avec "Vernon Subutex" que je n'avais pas du tout aimé.
J'ai retenté l'expérience avec ce livre … disons qu'il est "moins pire".
Certes, l'histoire tient la route, mais pourquoi tant de violence dans les mots ?
C'est l'histoire de deux jumelles que tout sépare.
Il y a la bimbo Claudine qui rêve de faire carrière dans la chanson mais qui
...more
Cassie (book__gal)
This was my third time reading Virginie Despentes and it was exactly what I expected: sexy, darkly funny, and covertly smart. Pretty Things sets forth the quest to become the perfect woman by twins Claudine and Pauline. Each twin represents two feminine parables women so often find themselves trapped in. Claudine, the promiscuous, desirable woman eager to employ her sexuality and good looks to get ahead in life, at whatever cost. Pauline, the shoddy, but secretly talented woman who sneers at Cla ...more
De Ongeletterde
In dit boek maken we alweer kennis met de harde, cynische, egoïstische, materialistische, nihilistische, utilitaire wereld waarin Virginie Despentes haar personages wel vaker laat rondlopen. Pauline en Claudine zijn tweelingzussen, erg verschillend nochtans, al blijkt dat minder zo te zijn dan zijzelf (en iedereen) dachten. Wanneer Claudine sterft, zet Pauline het "eenmalige" van plaats verwisselen voort en gaat ze, met een duidelijk doel voor ogen, het leven leiden van haar zus om datgene wat z ...more
Céline
Alors, tout d’abord, quelque chose d’inexcusable, c’est le language, le français utilisé dans cet ouvrage. Un choc. Un blasphème. Molière doit se retourner deux fois dans sa tombe.

Non au « c’en est ». Non aux phrases mal construites, comme par exemple p. 276 : « L’aurait fallu que tu m’accompagnes. » Où est passé le "Il" !
L’auteur ne sait même pas comment construire des phrases en français, la grammaire est tout simplement mise à la poubelle. C’est une honte.

Par ailleurs, Clau
...more
Pauline Borgeaud
Nov 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites-2016
4.5 stars.
Acheté purement par hasard, car étant comparé à Lolita Pille, mon premier livre de Despentes.
Et ce livre ne me laisse pas intacte. Court mais vif, violent, triste.
Il se passe tellement de choses, Pauline m'a beaucoup parlé au début, puis je l'ai vue s'éloigner, prendre une direction qui ne m'a pas plu, m'a rendue triste. Ce livre pue la tristesse. Même la fin me laisse un peu sans espoir. Très dur à expliquer, ce sentiment d'être seule, de se compromettre pour plaire,
...more
Myriam
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks
Ce n'est pas un mauvais livre, mais pour une fan inconditionnelle de Virginie ça m'a un peu déstabilisée. C'est un livre très calme, sage, des fois insipide, rien ne se passe vraiment. Et j'ai toujours du mal à me détacher de ses autres livres, je m'attends toujours à un certain degré de hardcore, d'histoires crues. À part quelques phrases sanglantes, ce livre tombe à plat pour moi. Ça m'a aidé à dépasser mon reading slump mais rien d'autre. C'est une critique sur l'industrie de la musique mais ...more
kasia
May 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those dirty, gritty, totally dysfunctional, smeared eyeliner, anonymous sex, piles of drugs, fast and loose and somewhat psychotic, sorts of worlds, and if you're into that sort of thing (I am), it's a thrill.
Andy Mascola
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Identical twins Pauline & Claudine have zero in common. Claudine is sexy and promiscuous. Pauline is frumpy and mean. After Claudine kills herself, Pauline assumes her sister’s identity and finds out how truly awful men can be. I loved it.
Valeria Nicoletti
Aug 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Letto tutto d'un fiato, durante pochi giorni passati in Francia.
La trama, all'inizio improbabile, si fa sempre più intensa ed è impossibile non sentirsi chiamati in causa, quasi presi a schiaffi dalle parole di Despentes, unica nella caratterizzazione dei personaggi.
Bello.
Mamoun Sinaceur
Jun 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
J’ai pris un plaisir fou à relire “ les jolies choses “ le style incroyable de Virginie Despentes
Caroline
I don't think I was in the mood for some kind of trashy reading, but I appreciated far enough to discover deeper Virginie Despentes' work. Later, though. Later.
Clare
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
pretty and shallow, and perfectly so
Patricia
C'est un livre très interessant, mais le developpement de l'histoire n'est pas formidable. Comme fanatique de Virginie Despèntes, je suis un peu déçue.
Gaëlle H20
Aug 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Première rencontre avec Despentes. Incisif et marquant !
April
Great twin/identity story, would like to read more by this author. Starting lagging at one point, but glad I finished it.
Samantha
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book felt like a chore to read. I kept losing interest and felt my mind wander.
Charles Dee Mitchell
Despentes creates a dark, funny feminist take on a plot device that dates back to Roman comedy. Several reader reviews say this is not Despentes at her best. This makes me want to read more.
Sabrina Crews
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Every page was a gut punch and I relished each one.
Vanessa Torrez Ortiz
I enjoyed the twists of this book. It was very dark but also shows you how lonely people can be. It made me value the people in my life, overall a good book.
Chapeau Melon
Mar 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought I had already read the best of Virginie Despentes, so I didn't expect that this book was that good... A 4.5 for me!
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992 followers
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 French sex indu ...more
“Coup d'œil dans la vitrine d'une bijouterie, pleine d'or et de réveils. C'est entre effroi et amusement. Sa propre allure. Elle ressemble à d'autres filles qu'elle. Jamais auparavant elle n'avait cru que c'était possible, sortir comme ça et que personne ne s'exclame : « Mais qu'est-ce que c'est que cette imposture ? » Cette allure qu'elle a, jambes sublimées, silhouette transformée. Et personne ne se rend compte qu'elle n'est pas du tout comme ça. C'est la première fois qu'elle comprend, qu'en fait aucune fille n'est comme ça.” 14 likes
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