Bad Eminence

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What to expect

Meet Vanessa Salomon, a privileged and misanthropic French-American translator hailing from a wealthy Parisian family. Her twin sister is a famous movie star, which Vanessa resents deeply and daily. The only man Vanessa ever loved recently killed himself by jumping off the roof of her building. It’s a full life.

Vanessa has just started working on an English translation of a titillating, experimental thriller by a dead author when she’s offered a more prominent gig: translating the latest book by an Extremely Famous French Writer who is not in any way based on Michel Houellebecq. As soon as she agrees to meet this writer, however, her other, more obscure project begins to fight back—leading Vanessa down into a literary hell of traps and con games and sadism and doppelgangers and mystic visions and strange assignations and, finally, the secret of life itself.

Peppered with “sponsored content” providing cocktail recipes utilizing a brand of liquor imported by the film director Steven Soderbergh, and with a cameo from the actress Juno Temple, Bad Eminence is at once an old-school literary satire in the mode of Vladimir Nabokov as well as a jolly thumb in the eyes of contemporary screen-life and digital celebrity.

Critics Review

  • “This is a work of lacerating style that shook my faith in the tangible world. It preys upon the real in capricious ways, like so much of the best fiction, toying with the reader’s memories until we’re not sure what we see, or what we have seen. James Greer is a circus-master of great humor, malevolence, and allusion, a fabricator of eerie truths. It’s terrifying to enter his world.”

    Michael Lesslie, BAFTA-nominated screenwriter
  • “I take exception to the characterization of my hair as ‘difficult,’ as my hair is in fact perfect, which I can prove in a court of law. Everything else James wrote is exactly as it happened, to the best of my memory.”

    Juno Temple
  • “Everything James wrote is exactly as it happened, to the best of my memory.”

    Juno Temple
  • “James Greer has always been a novelist I would hock my skills set to measure up against, but even matched against his prior coups, Bad Eminence is unspeakably exciting. Its grace and hilarity and brains and foolproof read on Frenchness and I don’t even know what else made my hands shake.”

    Dennis Cooper, author of the George Miles Cycle
  • “James Greer has managed to fill an entire book with words. I couldn’t stop putting it down.”

    Steven Soderbergh, director of Erin Brockovich
  • “Offer up your consent and let this book have its way with you. It’s alive and prickly and druggy and vexing and so much fun.”

    Beth Lisick, author of Edie on the Green Screen

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