Playboy (Semiotext(e) / Native Agents) (Paperback)

Playboy (Semiotext(e) / Native Agents) By Constance Debre, Holly James (Translated by) Cover Image
By Constance Debre, Holly James (Translated by)
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The prequel to Love Me Tender, narrating Debré’s transformation from affluent career woman to broke single lesbian and writer.

I see all her beauty, I see the beauty of women. I see my own body, new. I tell myself there are so many things that are possible.

First published in France in 2018, Playboy is the first volume of Constance Debré’s renowned autobiographical trilogy that describes her decision, at age forty-three, to abandon her marriage, her legal career, and her bourgeois Parisian life to become a lesbian and a writer.  

The novel unfolds in a series of short, sharp vignettes. The narrator’s descriptions of her first female lovers—a married woman fifteen years older than her, a model ten years her junior—are punctuated by encounters with her ex-husband, her father, and her son.  

As Debré recently told Granta: “It was a bit like Saint Augustine and his conversion. In the same week, I had sex with a girl and I had the feeling that I could write. I had this incredible feeling that I could catch things, that life was there to be caught.”  

Looking at the world through fresh eyes, the narrator of Playboy questions everything that once lay beneath the surface of her well-managed life. Laconic, aggressive, and radically truthful, she examines gender and marriage, selfishness and sacrifice, money and family, even the privilege inherent in her downward mobility.  

Writing her way toward her own liberation, Debré chronicles the process that made her one of the most brilliant, important French writers today.

About the Author

Constance Debré left her career as a lawyer to become a writer. Her other novels, Love Me Tender (published by Semiotext(e) in 2022), Un peu là, beaucoup ailleurs (winner of the 2005 Prix Contrepoint), and Manuel pratique de l'idéal Abécédaire de survie.

Praise For…

"Playboy is ruthless in its depiction of social conventions: romance, family, career, stability. Yet there is immense relief in Debré’s refusal to be consoled by the world, a glimmer—which grows stronger in the later novels, Love Me Tender and Name—of the possibility for something else."
—Hannah Tennant-Moore, The New York Times

"I find Debré's exquisite achievement not to reside in the realm of advice or guides for living. It's in that cold sliver of voice, conducting electricity at a high voltage, sending the occasional shower of sparks off the page."
—Christine Smallwood, Bookforum

"You cannot be neutral reading Playboy; every page compels the projection of the reader’s own class, raising to the surface all the percolating bitterness we feel for what we’ve had or haven’t."
—Estelle Hoy, Spike

Product Details
ISBN: 9781635902105
ISBN-10: 163590210X
Publisher: Semiotext(e)
Publication Date: April 9th, 2024
Pages: 176
Language: English
Series: Semiotext(e) / Native Agents