If you’ve read any of Despentes’s earlier books (King Kong Theory, Baise Moi), you will love this. If you’ve never read her but love a sprawling and yet fast-paced buddy cop sort of neo-noir that upends the genre even as it wallows in its powers of seduction, you will love this. Everyone will love this.
A teenage girl in Paris goes missing. Slips her tail and vanishes. That tail — a hapless, mousy private investigator — is then teamed up with a woman known only as the Hyena, a legendary private investigator herself but with an outsized personality and habits to match, and off they go. They talk to family members, friends, activists, rock stars, criminals, and even a nun, covering ground in two countries as they try to find the girl, fearing the worst and yet eternally hopeful.
The result is a novel unlike any other by an author unlike any other; Apocalypse Baby is a brutal portrait of contemporary society and its failures to deliver on any of the promises its been making, especially to its youth and the recently empowered (i.e. women and minorities).
Apocalypse Baby, Virginie Despentes, translated by Sian Reynolds, Feministe Press, 2015