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Anatole Hirsch (Phillippe Noiret) has already made his mark as a writer, and has garnered critical acclaim and financial rewards. However, he isn't a very nice man, and his life has left him angry and dissatisfied. To address that discomfort, he decides to perpetrate a hoax on the unsuspecting art community. Under a pen name, which he arranges for his young cousin Martin (Robin Renucci) to act as the front for, he writes a really brutal novel. Later, when the novel wins a major French literature prize, Martin begins to preen himself on his newfound, false, fame. Anatole will have none of that, and quickly pens a lousy second novel for the young author which, like so many second novels, condemns the heretofore promising young "novelist"back to the obscurity he emerged from.