“Conflicting, absorbing, and intense, this is dark academia as character study.
Don’t let the cover fool you: Vladimir is a man, sure, but really he is a device to get our unnamed narrator to work through some of her contradictory feelings. Our narrator presents as stoic as allegations around her husband take over campus; on the inside, though, she questions everything from the marital choices they made to her role in diminishing her own career.
The final act of this book won’t be for everyone, but the internal struggle resonates widely for anyone considering how they got to where they are, especially amongst artists and academics. She’s complex and unreliable and sometimes terrible and everything you could want in a character whose head you’re inside.”
“When I was a child, I loved old men, and I could tell that they also loved me.”
And so we are introduced to our narrator who’s “a work of art in herself” (The Washington Post): a popular English professor whose charismatic husband 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 extra-marital 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 this bold, edgy, and uncommonly assured debut, author Julia May Jonas takes us into charged territory, where the boundaries of morality bump up against the impulses of the human heart. Propulsive, darkly funny, and wildly entertaining, Vladimir perfectly captures the personal and political minefield of our current moment, exposing the nuances and the grey area between power and desire.