Julia May Jonas

09 February 2023
256 pages


A Sunday Times Paperback of the Year

'An 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

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.

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.
This deliciously dark American debut . . . A boisterous campus novel with an outrageously acerbic narrator, it delivers uncomfortable truths
This impressive debut . . . A twisty and thought-provoking tale