Vladimir by Julia May Jonas
I really had no choice, this newly published novel was a one sitting read that within the first few pages had my entire attention, made me laugh, gasp and became an instant favourite.
In the opening scenes, our unnamed narrator is watching Vladimir sleep. She confesses to us that “the sight of his arm hair, ablaze in the sun, sends a sob down my spine.” She has him shackled to the chair. I mean if that doesn’t capture your attention I’m not sure what will.
A runaway success that features in countless must read lists and press reviews, the main protagonist is an English professor and writer in her 50s whose husband has been accused of sexual misconduct after having a number of onliaisons with his much younger students.
This was for the most part a completely mesmerising, fascinating read (I am still working out how I feel about the ending). We watch as she grapples with the #metoomovement, her anger, millennial feminism, rapidly decreasing self esteem, morality, scandal, literature as an art form, sexuality, power disparity and above all her obsession with the new younger, married faculty member, Vladimir.
I fell for the voice of the main character, she has a dry, caustic, sharply observational wit that comes through as she interacts with her students, young women who she believes have “lost all agency” particularly those wanting to save her, demanding to know why she doesn’t leave her philandering husband. Their marriage however was never conventional and becomes the premise of the novel together with the burgeoning lust which kickstarts her literary creativity.
This is one that so many different readers would enjoy, it’s a perfect summer purchase, as clever as this book is it is accessible, easy to read, and subtilely clever with the simmering drama the main event. I felt the raw energy @juliamaynot captured in those very first pages throughout, a vivid, visceral debut you won’t put down ~ C
Order your copy here.