Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press

Baise-Moi (Rape Me)

by Virginie Despentes Translated from French by Bruce Benderson

“A small revolution.” –Ernest Hardy, L.A. Weekly

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 256
  • Publication Date April 23, 2003
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-3870-5
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $18.00

About The Book

Baise-Moi is one of the most controversial French novels of recent years, a punk fantasy that takes female rage to its outer limits. Now the basis for a hit underground film that was banned in France, Baise-Moi is a searing story of two women on a rampage that is part Thelma and Louise, part Viking conquest.

Manu and Nadine have had all they can take. Manu has been brutally raped, and determines it’s not worth leaving anything precious lying vulnerable–including her very self. She teams up with Nadine, a nihilist and prostitute who watches pornography incessantly, and they enact their own version of les vols et les viols (rape and pillage)–they lure men sexually, use them up, then rob and kill them. Drawing from the spiky cadences of the Sex Pistols and the murderous eroticism of Georges Bataille or Dennis Cooper, Baise-Moi is a shocking, accomplished, and truly unforgettable novel.

Tags Literary


“A small revolution.” –Ernest Hardy, L.A. Weekly

“Pure payback . . . subversive and exhilarating.” –Karen Durbin, Elle

“An underground favorite that will be talked about for years.” –Francesca Miller, Female FYI

Baise-Moi fuses triple-X porno, New Wave abandon, and feminist revenge fantasy. . . . It deserves a look-see by discerning, open-minded adults in the mood for something risky and different.” –Glenn Lovell, The Mercury News

“A sticky, smashed, sweaty, laughing too loud, broken teeth, drunker than drunk adventure.” –Melissa Huffsmith-Roth, Bust Magazine


Chapter I

Nadine’s sitting in front of the TV, wearing a suit, pushing fast forward to get past the credits. The VCR’s an old model, without a remote.

On-screen is a fat blonde, trussed to a wheel, her head at the bottom. Close-up on her congested face: sweat pouring under the foundation makeup. There’s a guy in glasses energetically masturbating her with a whip handle. He calls her a fat, dirty pig and she chortles.

All the actors in the film look like storekeepers from the neighborhood. It has the unsettling appeal of a certain kind of German cinema.

Offscreen, a woman’s voice bellows: “And now, bitch, piss your brains out.” Urine gushes out like a show of holiday fireworks. The voice offscreen says the man can take advantage of it, and he pounces eagerly on the stream. He throws the camera a few frantic glances, getting totally into the piss and exposing himself spiritedly.

Next scene, the same girl is on all fours carefully spreading the white cheeks of her fat ass.

A guy who looks like the first one is silently pumping her.

The blonde has the affected airs of a young leading lady. She licks her lips with relish, wrinkles her nose and makes a big deal out of panting. At the top of her thighs, the cellulite moves in bundles. There’s a little drool on her chin, and it’s easy to see the pimples under her makeup. Her old, flabby body tries to project “young girl.”

By moving her ass as convincingly as she can, she even manages to divert attention from her belly, her stretch marks and that homely mug of hers. A tour de force. Nadine lights a butt without moving her eyes from the screen. Not bad at all.

The scene changes; now it’s a black girl packed into a formfitting red leather dress, walking into the stairwell of a building. She’s blocked by a hooded guy who promptly handcuffs her to the banister. Then he grabs her by the hair and forces her to suck him.

The door to the apartment slams, Nadine grumbles something about “that idiot who doesn’t have to come home to eat,” just as the guy in the film says, “You’ll see, you’ll end up loving my cock, they all end up loving it.”

Before she’s even taken off her jacket, Séverine yells, “Still watching that junk.”

Without turning around, Nadine answers, “You’re here just in time, the beginning would’ve turned you off, but even you would like this black girl.”

“Turn that off right away, you know very well it disgusts me.”

“Besides, handcuffs really do the trick, I love them.”

“Turn that TV off. Now.”

It’s the same problem as insects developing a tolerance to insecticide: you’ve got to find new ways to liquidate them.

The first time that S’verine found a porno cassette left out on the living room table, she was so shocked she couldn’t complain. But she’s hardened a lot since then, and it keeps taking more and more to get the best of her.

As far as Nadine’s concerned, this is actually therapy she’s offering. She’s loosening up that tight ass of Séverine’s, bit by bit.

Meanwhile, the black girl really has developed a taste for the guy’s dick. She swallows it hungrily and shows a lot of tongue. He ends up coming on her face, and she begs him to take her from behind.

Séverine plops down next to Nadine, scrupulously avoiding looking at the screen, and gets aggravatingly shrill: “You’re really sick and you’ll end up making me sick.”

Nadine asks, “Would you mind going into the kitchen? I’d rather masturbate in front of the TV, it’s really a drag always having to do it in my room. “Course, you can stay if you want.”

The other girl freezes. She’s trying to understand what’s happening and figure out how to answer. Not easy for her.

Satisfied with having disconcerted her, Nadine turns off the VCR. “I was joking.”

Visibly relieved, the other sulks unconvincingly, then starts talking. She reels off some of the annoyances of her workday as she goes to the bathroom to check her face. She monitors her body like a drill sergeant, determined to keep every hair and every inch in line with current standards, whatever the cost. She yaps, “And nobody called me?”

She holds on to the thought that the guy who laid her last week is going to show up. But this guy didn’t seem stupid, and fat chance that he will.

S’verine asks the same question every day. And every day, she comes out with a stream of irate complaints: “I never would have believed he was like that. We really talked a lot to each other. I just don’t get why he’s not calling back. It’s disgusting the way he used me.”

Used her. As if her cunt were too high-class to get any good out of a prick.

Where sex is concerned, she comes up with a mind-boggling wealth of such stupidities, a complicated treatise full of contradictions she never admits. Right now she just keeps vehemently repeating that she’s “not that kind of girl.” For her, the generic “that kind of girl” sums up the worst part of human beings. Somebody should reassure her: she isn’t “that kind of girl”; she’s idiotic, unbelievably pretentious, brazenly narcissistic and nauseatingly banal no matter what she says. There sure is nothing easy about her. It’s no surprise she rarely gets laid, despite the fact of how much good it would do her.

Nadine gives her a sideways look, resigns herself to playing confidante. She suggests, ‘draw up a contract for the next time. The guy has to promise to keep you company the day after or call you during the week. If he doesn’t sign, don’t spread for him.”

Séverine needs a little time to understand whether she should take this as an attack, a joke or good advice. Finally, she opts for a tiny, delicate laugh. It’s a show of subtlety that ends up sounding in bad taste. Then relentlessly she goes on: “What I don’t understand is that it wasn’t the kind of guy who’d jump on just any girl, otherwise I wouldn’t have wanted to from the very first night. Something really happened between us. In fact, I think I scared him, believe me: guys are always afraid of girls with strong personalities.”

She loves tackling the theme of her ‘strong personality.” Just as she always brings up her sparkling intelligence or how cultured she is. It’s one of the mysteries of the mind, God alone knows how she got it into her head.

It’s true that she does put some effort into the way she talks. She laces it with hip words okayed by the crowd she hangs out with. She works up a list of cultural references for herself, choosing them as if they were fashion accessories: in line with the times and good at making her look like her peers.

In fact, she pays attention to her personality as you would to your bikini waxing, since she’s aware that you have to play all your cards to seduce a man. Her ultimate goal is to become somebody’s wife, and with all the trouble she goes through, she’s expecting to hook a good one. Masculine intuition tells guys to keep their distance from this bonsai. But sooner or later she’ll get one of them and fill his head with her crap on a daily basis.

Nadine stretches, sympathizing with the poor bloke who finally gets taken in by it. She gets up for a beer. Séverine follows her to the kitchen without stopping talking. She’s finished with that boor who won’t call, but she’ll start on it again tomorrow. Now she dives enthusiastically into the latest malicious gossip.

Leaning against the fridge, Nadine watches her eat her salad.

They moved in together for purely practical reasons. Little by little, their living together became pathological, but neither has the means to live alone. In any case, Nadine can’t collect unemployment when she doesn’t have a pay stub. And S’verine doesn’t mind her as much as she pretends. Fundamentally, she’s a masochist and gets a certain pleasure out of rough treatment. She’s perverse, but not the user-friendly version.

Nadine finishes her beer, looks in the ashtray for a serviceable butt because she can’t be bothered going down to the tobacco shop. She finds a half-smoked joint. It’s more than enough to get stoned, and the discovery puts her in good humor.

She patiently waits for S’verine to go back to work, politely wishes her a good day. Then she rummages through S’verine’s room because she knows she’s stashed some whiskey there. She fills a large glass with it and sits down in front of the TV.

She lights the roach, concentrates on holding in the smoke as long as she can. She pushes the volume of the stereo all the way up and starts the VCR without sound.

She can feel the space between her and the world suddenly mellowing out, nothing worries her, everything is fun. Joyfully she recognizes the symptoms of being really high.

She slides down to the bottom of the chair, gets out of her pants and lets her palm play under the material of her panties. She watches her hand moving between her thighs in regular circles, speeds up the movement and tenses her hips.

She raises her eyes to the screen again, to the girl bent over the banister of the staircase, shaking her head from right to left as her undulating ass swallows the guy’s penis.

©1999 by Editions Grasset & Faquelle. Reprinted with permission from Grove Atlantic, Inc. All rights reserved.