176 pp., 5 x 8 in,
- Published: April 9, 2024
- Publisher: Semiotext(e)
- Rights: for sale in North America only
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.