"Virginie Despentes's Vernon Subutex trilogy is the zeitgeistiest thing I ever read. Everything about it is contemporary, right down to the fearless woman author who doesn't think of herself as a feminist and gives an impression at least in interviews of habitually killing rapists . . . [It] has dupes and assholes and racists and the people they hate and a stunning diversity of internal monologues and trans true love. Like the last decade, it searches for a happy ending that isn’t merely personal and can’t find it . . . These novels with their depth and detail kick TV's sorry ass." —Nell Zink, Bustle, "The Best Books Of The 2010s"
From the provocative writer and filmmaker Virginie Despentes comes volume one of her acclaimed trilogy of novels, Vernon Subutex—short-listed for the Man Booker International Prize. But who is Vernon Subutex?
Vernon Subutex was once the proprietor of Revolver, an infamous music shop in Paris, where his name was legend throughout Paris. By the 2000s, however, with the arrival of the internet and the decline in CD and vinyl sales, his shop is struggling, like so many others. When it closes, Subutex finds himself with nowhere to go and nothing to do. Before long, his savings are gone, and when the mysterious rock star who had been covering his rent suddenly drops dead of a drug overdose, Subutex finds himself launched on an epic saga of couch-surfing, boozing, and coke-snorting before finally winding up homeless. Just as he resigns himself to life as a panhandler, a throwaway comment he once made on Facebook takes the internet by storm.
The word is out: Subutex is lugging around a bunch of VHS tapes shot by that same dead rock musician—his last recordings on this earth. Soon a crowd of wild characters, from screen writers to social media groupies, from porn stars to failed musicians to random misfits, are hot on Vernon's trail . . . but Vernon is none the wiser.