Author: Julia May Jonas
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publication Date: 26th May 2022
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 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.
With her bold, edgy, and uncommonly assured literary debut, Julia May Jonas takes us into charged territory, where the strictures of morality bump up against the impulses of the human heart. Propulsive, darkly funny, and surreptitiously moving, Vladimir maps the personal and political minefield of our current moment, exposing the messy contradictions of power and desire.
I’ve been excited to read this book ever since I first saw the extremely aesthetically pleasing cover and now I have, I can confirm it is every bit as incredible as I’d hoped! Our narrator is a phenomenal main character to follow. Her thought patterns and incisive social commentary is endlessly fascinating and deeply compelling. Vladimir is also written with a remarkable deftness and surety that is even more impressive considering this is a debut. It is a sharply intelligent book which manages to achieve moments of true poignancy intermixed with a caustic provocative humour that I just adored. Every single piercing page of Vladimir had me in awe and it has gone straight on my list of all time favourite books. Seductive, smart and stunningly assured.
Huge thanks to Hope at Picador for sending me a beautiful proof copy of the book. My review is entirely my own honest opinion.
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