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What to expect

The devastating and powerful memoir from a French publisher who was abused by a famous writer from the age of thirteen

‘Dazzling’ New York Times

‘A gut-punch of a memoir with prose that cuts like a knife’ Kate Elizabeth Russell, author of My Dark Vanessa

Thirty years ago, Vanessa Springora was the teenage muse of one of France’s most celebrated writers, a footnote in the narrative of an influential man. At the end of 2019, as women around the world began to speak out, Springora, now in her forties and the director of one of France’s leading publishing houses, decided to reclaim her own story.

Consent is the story of her stolen adolescence. Devastating in its honesty, Springora’s painstaking memoir lays bare the cultural attitudes and circumstances that made it possible for a thirteen-year-old girl to become involved with a fifty-year-old man.

Drawing parallels between children’s fairy tales, French history and the author’s personal life, Consent offers intimate insights into the meaning of love and consent, the toll of trauma and the power of healing in women’s lives.

Critics Review

  • ‘A Molotov cocktail flung at the face of the French establishment, a work of dazzling, highly controlled fury. A triumph’ New York Times

    ‘A memoir of lost adolescence … elegant, focused, fluidly translated’ Guardian

    ‘Rapier-sharp, written with restraint, elegance and brevity – and beautifully translated’ The Times

    ‘A gut-punch of a memoir with prose that cuts like a knife. Springora never loses sight of the teenage girl at the centre of her story even as she lays bare a culture’s hypocrisies and failures. Painful and powerful, Consent reads like a reckoning’ Kate Elizabeth Russell, author of My Dark Vanessa

    ‘Incisive and brave, Consent examines how society often fails to protect young women in the most dangerous of ways’ Louise O’Neill

    ‘[Vanessa Springova’s] account makes one of the strongest points yet in the French #MeToo debate’ Los Angeles Review of Books

    ‘Fierce and controlled … a searing indictment of an overly permissive era that has triggered a national reckoning in France’ Daily Mail

    ‘Her sentences gleam like metal; each chapter snaps shut with the clean brutality of a latch’ The New Yorker

    ‘[Consent] has something steely in its heart, and it departs from the typical American memoir of childhood abuse in exhilarating ways’ Slate

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