Virginie Despentes' Pretty Things: Emma Ramadan and Alexandra Kleeman (PRINCE STREET)

Pretty Things is the newest English-language book by French feminist Virginie Despentes, translated by Emma Ramadan. In this pulpy, psychological tale of two mismatched twins, the "perfect" sister Claudine commits suicide and wallflower Pauline hatches a scheme of her own. She pulls on her dead sister's identity, lives in her apartment, and reads her mail. But as the impersonation continues, Pauline slowly realizes that the cost of femininity is to dazzle on the outside while rotting away on the inside—and that womanhood is ultimately what killed her sister. 

Emma Ramadan is a literary translator. She translates from Providence, Rhode Island, where she is also co-owner of Riffraff bookstore and bar. Her translations include Sphinx and Not One Day by Anne Garréta, Monospace by Anne Parian, and The Curious Case of Dassoukine’s Trousers by Fouad Laroui. She is a recipient of a 2016 PEN/Heim Translation Fund grant for her translation from the French of Ahmed Bouanani’s The Shutters.

Alexandra Kleeman is the author of the story collection Intimations and the novel You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine, which won the 2016 Bard Fiction Prize. Her fiction has been published in The New YorkerThe Paris ReviewZoetrope: All-StoryConjunctions, and Guernica, among others. Nonfiction essays and reportage have appeared in Harper'sThe New YorkerTin Housen+1, and The Guardian. Her work has received scholarships and grants from Bread Loaf, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Santa Fe Art Institute, and ArtFarm Nebraska. She teaches at Columbia University, and lives in Staten Island.