My Dark Vanessa
Books | Fiction / Literary
Kate Elizabeth Russell
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER "Russell manages a brutal originality. . . . [an] exceedingly complex, inventive, resourceful examination of harm and power." --The New York Times Book Review, Editors' Choice"To call this book a 'conversation piece' or 'an important book' feels belittling . . . [it] is so much more than that. It's a lightning rod. A brilliantly crafted novel."--The Washington PostA most anticipated book by The New York Times - USA Today - Entertainment Weekly - Marie Claire - Elle - Harper's Bazaar - Bustle - Newsweek - New York Post - Esquire - Real Simple - The Sunday Times - The Guardian Exploring the psychological dynamics of the relationship between a precocious yet naïve teenage girl and her magnetic and manipulative teacher, a brilliant, all-consuming read that marks the explosive debut of an extraordinary new writer.2000. Bright, ambitious, and yearning for adulthood, fifteen-year-old Vanessa Wye becomes entangled in an affair with Jacob Strane, her magnetic and guileful forty-two-year-old English teacher. 2017. Amid the rising wave of allegations against powerful men, a reckoning is coming due. Strane has been accused of sexual abuse by a former student, who reaches out to Vanessa, and now Vanessa suddenly finds herself facing an impossible choice: remain silent, firm in the belief that her teenage self willingly engaged in this relationship, or redefine herself and the events of her past. But how can Vanessa reject her first love, the man who fundamentally transformed her and has been a persistent presence in her life? Is it possible that the man she loved as a teenager--and who professed to worship only her--may be far different from what she has always believed?Alternating between Vanessa's present and her past, My Dark Vanessa juxtaposes memory and trauma with the breathless excitement of a teenage girl discovering the power her own body can wield. Thought-provoking and impossible to put down, this is a masterful portrayal of troubled adolescence and its repercussions that raises vital questions about agency, consent, complicity, and victimhood. Written with the haunting intimacy of The Girls and the creeping intensity of Room, My Dark Vanessa is an era-defining novel that brilliantly captures and reflects the shifting cultural mores transforming our relationships and society itself.--Esquire, The Best Books Coming Out This Winter
Kate Elizabeth Russell
Community ReviewsSee all
"Dark. Unsettling. Deeply disturbing. Such difficult subject matter. A student and her teacher/lover/abuser, from the perspective of the girl that suffers this relationship. It will make you suffer with her and think about the complexity and devastating consequences of these situations. Not a light read."
"4.25/5 this book is HEAVY! I think someone recommended this like a dark romance which is is NOT. This book is makes you frustrated and disappointed in adults. It made me want to scoop Vanessa up and protect her. This book deals with very tough subject matter so I would recommend checking trigger warnings before reading. My mind is still swimming since finishing this book. I hated this book and it made me sick but I couldn’t stop reading it. The ending was very open ended which I think was totally fine for this particular story but I didn’t love it because I like solid conclusions. I’m not sure I say I recommend this? I don’t know if I’d say I recommend this. It’s dark it’s thought provoking and it’s painful at times. If you want to feel those emotions this it a book for you! "