Julia May Jonas
‘Deliciously dark American debut’ – The Guardian
A provocative, razor-sharp, and timely novel about a beloved English professor facing a slew of accusations against her husband from his former students – a situation that becomes more complicated when she herself develops an obsession of her own . . .
When I was a child, I loved old men, and I could tell that they also loved me.
And so we meet our deliciously incisive narrator: a popular English professor whose husband, a charismatic professor at the same small liberal arts college, is under investigation for his inappropriate relationships with his former students. The couple have long had a mutual understanding when it comes to their extramarital pursuits, but with these new allegations, life has become far less comfortable for them both.
And when our unnamed narrator becomes increasingly infatuated with Vladimir, a celebrated, married young novelist who’s just arrived on campus, their tinder-box world comes dangerously close to exploding.
Julia May Jonas takes us into charged territory, where the restrictions of morality bump up against the impulses of the human heart. Darkly funny and moving, Vladimir maps the personal and political minefield of our current moment, exposing the messy contradictions of power and desire.
‘This astonishing debut . . . I was utterly hooked . . . [by] this twisty, sexy, shocking treat of a novel . . . How on earth will Julia May Jonas better this?’ – The Sunday Times
Female ageing and desire, sexual agency in the era of #MeToo, the relationship between morality and art, even a nod to Stephen King's Misery: it's all here in this sexy stealthy slippery debut, one of the year's hottest reads. * The Daily Mail * This deliciously dark American debut . . . A boisterous campus novel with an outrageously acerbic narrator, it delivers uncomfortable truths * The Guardian * This impressive debut . . . A twisty and thought-provoking tale * The Sunday Times/The Times * Haunted by the spirit of Nabokov, this sly satire challenges today's "insistence on morality in art" * The Daily Telegraph * This astonishing debut is anything but another #MeToo morality tale . . . I was utterly hooked . . . [by] this twisty, sexy, shocking treat of a novel . . . How on earth will Julia May Jonas better this? * The Sunday Times * Darkly comic . . . Jonas's novel is full of sly satire . . . The first-person narrative is beautifully rich, and the novel is playing enjoyable games with the ghost of Nabokov throughout . . . Vladimir isn't a novel that cares for the taking of sides. The words "snowflake" and "woke" don't appear - Jonas is too smart for that laziness - and when the narrator compares her students' cutlery to "pitchforks", the simile has Nabokovian skill * The Daily Telegraph * Vladimir is peppered with subversions . . . Jonas artfully fashions a protagonist mired in contradictions . . . [An] intelligent knowing portrayal of a woman's midlife crisis * The Observer * This slippery debut challenges to often electrifying effect the moral pieties concerning women, sex and power that have sprung up in the wake of #MeToo . . . A welcome addition to the growing number of #MeToo novels, many of which feel in comparison a little tired * The Daily Mail * It is delicious to spend so much time with a narrator who wants the way this one does, who wants so badly she'll send her life up in flames. * Vanity Fair * Jonas's assured debut may be operating in Nabokov's long shadow, but it's difficult not to gobble up the unadorned, plot-driven prose, with its hints of kidnap and bondage, at a greedy pace * The Literary Review * [An] engaging debut . . . [Jonas's] storylines are full of nuance, loopholes, granular details that refuse easy definition * The Irish Times * 'Vladimir contains far too many uncomfortable truths to be merely fun, but . . . it is, by turns, cathartic, devious and terrifically entertaining.' * New York Times * 'Vladimir goes into such outrageous territory that my jaw literally dropped at moments while I was reading it. There's a rare blend here of depth of character, mesmerizing prose, and fast-paced action.' * Boston Globe * In darkly funny terms, Jonas creates a portrait of a narcissist reckoning with her age and vanity, but also the limits of her power. * Time * 'What is more delicious than the despicable narrator? . . . Jonas, with a potent, pumping voice, has drawn a character so powerfully candid that when she does things that are malicious, dangerous and, yes, predatory, we only want her to do them again.' * Los Angeles Times * If Netflix's The Chair, Lisa Taddeo's best-seller Three Women, and the most compelling passages of Ottessa Moshfegh's Death in Her Hands had a love child (just go with me here), it would be this fiction debut. With a title character who's a sought-after young novelist new to a college faculty, Vladimir leaves the reader with more questions than answers-about sex, and sexual politics-in the most delicious way. * Entertainment Weekly * Funny, wise and instantly engaging, Vladimir is how I like my thrill rides: brainy and sexy. -- Maria Semple, author of Where'd You Go Bernadette Vladimir is a thrilling debut - smart, sharp, and uber provocative. I devoured it with fascination and awe. -- Lily King, author of Writers & Lovers A whip smart and ferociously clever tale of swirling allegiances, literary rivalries, and romantic tripwires detonating hidden mines - Vladimir is an extraordinary debut. -- Adrienne Brodeur, author of Wild Game Droll, dry, and pacy, Vladimir is deliciously unsparing and enormous fun. -- Lionel Shriver, author of We Need To Talk About Kevin Brilliant and very funny -- Patrick Radden Keefe, author of Empire of Pain
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