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Julia May Jonas

Autor(a) de Vladimir

1 Work 508 Membros 32 Críticas

Obras por Julia May Jonas

Vladimir (2022) 508 exemplares


Conhecimento Comum




Would it be wrong to say that I recognised parts of myself in the slightly self-obsessed, vain narrator of this book. She is an academic in a local university where she teaches Women in American Literature, something she has grown a little bored with, and is married to John, now Head of the English Department and being investigated for relationships with his students.

Their marriage is open, she knows he has had relationships and she has had them herself, including one where she thought she was going to run away to Berlin with one lover, also in the department, but he didn't turn up for his escape to Berlin with her. She is unnamed and spends a lot of time considering her age, mid to late 50s, her husband's age - older, and Vladimir the latest member of the department - younger. Vladimir comes with a wife who has tried to commit suicide and a young daughter. And the narrator becomes obsessed with him, the hairs on his arm in the sunlight, his flat stomach and his writing. As her husband's date for the hearing nears, so her obsession for Vladimir increases until she is at the point when she is so 'engorged' with creative juices that she starts to write again.

This is when the book starts to become a little lost. She traps Vladimir into a lunch and afternoon out, gets him drunk, drugs him and ties him to the chair, we imagine to have her wicked way with him and this leads us back to the opening of the book where she is watching him sleep but with one arm tied to a chair. The opening also reveals her attraction to old men'

. . . old men are composed of desire. Everything about them is wanting. They have appetites for food, boats, vacations, entertainment. They want to be stimulated. They want to sleep. . . . And of course, they desire the adoration of a sexual partner, even if only in their imaginations, through the blue light of their television screens.

So here we have the story laid out but played out in reverse with the woman doing the desiring but now of a younger man.

The kidnapping of Vladimir did come out of the blue in the book. He went along willingly with her, the lead up to the agreement to have lunch was consensual and he had been flirty with her previously so why did she need to plan and kidnap him. We were led to believe that he would have had an affair with her anyway.

We were notified of her as perhaps an unreliable narrator when her up-until-then perfect daughter turned up at home drunk and having been kicked out of her house and relationship for having an affair with another woman. So, not so perfect and a little more shocking when both parents were sure they had shielded their daughter from their own affairs. But their is no hint of her unreliableness as a narrator elsewhere in the book.

At this point I thought the book started to drift off and the fire that then resulted from their drunken evening was a little too convenient a way of resolving the narrative. However, this was an interesting debut where the tropes of academic relationships and creatives were turned on their heads. Three quarters of this book were a great read, the final quarter not so much.
… (mais)
allthegoodbooks | 31 outras críticas | Mar 1, 2024 |
The beginning of this contemporary novel nearly lost me; I thought I was reading some variation of Fifty Shades of Awful, and I nearly set the book aside. But I did not, and I am glad. While the novel did center around sexual desire, it was far more about appetites of many varieties that are expected in a man -- sexual, professional recognition, food, drink -- and how they appear villainous when they are assigned to a female character. This villain, though -- the unnamed 50-something English professor at a small upstate New York liberal arts college who narrates the story -- turns out to be not so much of a villain at all, but an insecure woman concerned with her aging body. To me, it seemed a bit of twist on Nabokov's Lolita, including the name of the object of the narrator's desire, Vladimir Vladinsky, the hot, younger new English professor in the department currently chaired by the narrator's husband, who is about to be me-tooed out of his job.… (mais)
bschweiger | 31 outras críticas | Feb 4, 2024 |
Engaging premise about a topic very much in the news. Author knows her way around a sentence, a paragraph, a scene. Lots of sharp and wry observations. Three stars because the plot just came undone in the final quarter of the novel. But this author is talented and I'll be on the look-out for her next book. Also, I'll be interested to see if women readers generally come to different conclusions than I, as well as younger readers.
Kalapana | 31 outras críticas | Jan 22, 2024 |
This author writes beautifully, and the way the book is structured should have had me zipping through this book. But I struggled, because I just didn't care about the cringy main character and her internal musings. I wonder if this was the author's intent or if I just could not find any redeeming quality.

As I'm thinking now, I can't even remember the main character's name, or if anyone ever called her by her name. She's an older white women who is admittedly jealous of the power/allure of older white males and decides to try her hand at the grossness they get away with all the time. The ending of the story did nothing for me except to produce a hard eye-roll.

I think this book was worth reading, if only to appreciate the author's style, but I'm glad to be done with it.
… (mais)
mishmashed | 31 outras críticas | Dec 31, 2023 |



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