Das Leben des Vernon Subutex

Virginie Despentes | Claudia Steinitz

„Er hat zugesehen, wie alles den Bach runterging, erst war es in Zeitlupe, dann legte der Absturz an Tempo zu. Aber Vernon hat weder die Gleichgültigkeit noch die Eleganz aufgegeben.“

Das Leben des Vernon Subutex

Jury notes:

Vernon Subutex, a former record salesman and a member of the Paris cultural scene, ends up on the street. He has not completely lost his charm yet, but to his “old friends,” whom he successively hits up, he is like a burning lens on their own lives. Whether Boho, porn actress, producer, heir or homeless – in the late-capitalist era there is no room left for bon vivants. In her bitterly satirical novel, Virginie Despentes’s characters make music, argue, moan and gripe – and Claudia Steinitz’s German translation modulates the various pitches in a rapidly and eerily authentic way. – Katy Derbyshire

Virginie Despentes , © JF Paga

Author: Virginie Despentes

Virginie Despentes, born in 1969, already became known to a large audience with her debut novel Baise-moi (Rape Me) (2002), which was adapted to film in France. Since then she has published several novels. For Apocalypse Baby she received the prestigious Prix Renaudot in 2010, her novel Vernon Subutex was awarded the Prix Anaïs Nin and other prizes. Since the publication of the Subutex trilogy she has become one of the most important writers in France and was elected to the Académie Goncourt in January 2016.

Recent publications:

  • Apocalypse Baby, Feminist Press, 2015
    [Apocalypse Bébé, Éditions Grasset & Fasquelle, 2010]
  • King Kong Theory, Feminist Press, 2010
    [King Kong Théorie, Éditions Grasset & Fasquelle, 2006]

Claudia Steinitz , © privat

Translator: Claudia Steinitz

Claudia Steinitz, born in 1961 in Berlin, studied French and Italian at the Humboldt University in Berlin. From 1983 to 1986 she researched contemporary Italian literature at the Department of Italian Literature at Humboldt University. From 1986 to 1989 she was also a staff member for country relations there. She has been translating French-language literature, among others by Virginie Despentes, Yannick Haenel, Véronique Olmi, Albertine Sarrazin and Lyonel Trouillot, since 1989.

Recent publications:

  • Véronique Olmi, Das Glück, wie es hätte sein können, Kunstmann, 2014
    [Nous étions faits pour être heureux, Albin Michel, 2012]
  • Yannick Haenel, Das Schweigen des Jan Karski, Rowohlt, 2011
    [Jan Karski, Gallimard, 2009]