Original title: Vierge

Publication Date:

August 2023



Original language and publisher

Territories Handled

Worldwide excl. French


Debut Novel, Literary Fiction


  • Prix Révélation d'automne 2023 de la SGDL (longlisted)
  • Prix René Fallet 2024 (longlisted)
  • Prix Première Pluie 2023 (shorlisted)


Original title: Vierge


An accomplished first novel, equally funny, tender and desperate. — Bookshop Maison Marguerite

With a language that is alternately raw and modest, exciting and political, Constance Rutherford reflects on the sexual body as well as the social body. Vierge is a revelation! — Hubert Arthus, Causette

A story filled with humor, adventures, oddities, and contemporary references. There is never a dull moment in the rollicking tale of this constrained body. — Clémence Bauer, Les Missives

The subject of the place of women in society is treated here with humor, lightness, a certain cynicism but also with literary writing and a look at our society. — RTBF

This first novel, inventive and poetic, is the captivating story of the quest for a sexual identity. — Lucille Souron, L’Obs

“I don’t know anything except that I started loving too late. I didn’t even realize it was political.”

Maxine is 25 years old. People her age make love, sometimes even children. When she sees the teenagers swooning over their crushes in the middle school where she works as a paid hallway monitor, she figures she must have missed something.

Maxine is shy, virgin and perspicacious. When her grandmother enrolls her in a theatre workshop to bring the mummified body that’s hobbling her to life, she goes along reluctantly. But it isn’t until she’s cast as a prostitute in The Reunification of the Two Koreas, by Joël Pommerat that she realizes the full extent of her anomaly. She has to rid herself of the burden that’s imprisoning, obsessing and isolating her. Her body is begging for it, and society demands it.

In this desperate quest that takes her from the chlorinated depths of a municipal pool to a sex school in the Netherlands, assailed by the injunctions weighing her down, Maxine will find answers, and, most importantly, the true nature of her desire. Constance Rutherford’s sense of humor, affection and precision make this debut novel a phenomenal portrait of both her generation and our times.

Marketing Information

  • Inspired by her own life, this debut novel depicts with oh-so British humor a constant sense of inadequacy in the face of social expectations.
  • It also explores the social categories people are often being reduced to (straight/deconstructed lesbian, Gen X/Z, etc.).
  • A text buzzing with the energy of stand-up comedy that manages to be politically incorrect, moving and imbued with melancholy.