First hardcover edition, Carroll & Graf (1999)


E-book edition, Open Road Integrated Media (2014)


The Pygmalion myth recast by one of America’s boldest and most bewitching storytellers.

Anna Graham has one ambition—to be a great actress. The only problem is, she can’t stop being herself. She is proud, stubborn, and moody; according to her acting teacher, she needs to be as bland and pliable as warm wax. Even when she rents a Good Fairy Queen Costume—complete with crown, wand, and wig—and walks the streets of New York City until three thirty in the morning, she fails to be anyone but Anna Graham. “Help,” she thinks, smoking a cigarette in a deserted subway station. “Help!” screams a man at the other end of the platform as two attackers pull him onto the train tracks. Red pepper spray in hand, the Good Fairy Queen rushes to Damon Wetly’s rescue—and Anna’s wish comes true, in the oddest way imaginable.

Locked inside a cage in Wetly’s cloud-filled country home, Anna learns to do everything—walk, talk, think, eat, breathe—differently. When she finally escapes, she becomes a star—as Wetly promised she would. The new-and-improved Anna attracts plenty of admirers—including a paraplegic soap opera celebrity; the world’s most famous supermodel; and a handsome cellist, Weight Watchers counselor, etiquette expert, and exotic dancer named Nathaniel Powers—but she only has eyes for her former captor, the creator of miniature clouds and major actresses. Just when it seems that her fairy tale ending is right around the corner, Anna’s whole world threatens to evaporate into thin air.

Fearless and fascinating, Vapor holds a funhouse mirror up to some of our deepest and most alluring notions about fame, identity, and desire.

(Book description via Open Road Integrated Media.)


“Wildly imaginative and intelligent, Vapor is as good as any long-awaited second novel can get.”
Time Out New York

“Cruelly inventive, mercilessly witty and outrageous…Vapor showcases a prodigious postfeminist talent. Her energetic originality never falters and her unforgiving eye for the fluidity of human weakness never blinks.”
Publishers Weekly

“Rewardingly escapist.”

“An original and beguiling interpretation of old myths and contemporary preoccupations.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Amanda Filipacchi has pulled off the rare feat of writing a novel that is at once great fun and extremely thought-provoking. She takes the Pygmalion myth and through a surreal twist, helps us to see the reality of human relationships with a new, valuable clarity.”
—Alain de Botton

“Filipacchi has stirred the stories of Cinderella and Pygmalion with the scatological humor of Chaucer. Vapor never fails to splash up some new wave of wit or horror.”
—Ron Charles, The Christian Science Monitor

“It’s a quirky dark love story—surreal, fantastic!”
—Ralph Fiennes

“Quick, funny, absurd, and daring…. hilarious even during the most absurd moments.”

“Vapor is the funniest damn book I’ve ever read.”
—Dale Peck