A Literary Hub Best Book of the Year • A Crime Reads Best Debut of the Year •
A Newsweek Best Fall Book • A Philadelphia Inquirer Best Fall Book • An O Magazine.com LGBTQ Book That Is Changing the Literary Landscape • An Electric Lit Most Anticipated Debut of the Year • A The Millions Most Anticipated Book of the Year • A Paperback Paris Best New LGBTQ+ Books To Read This Year Selection
The Secret History meets Lie with Me in Micah Nemerever's compulsively readable debut novel—a feverishly taut Hitchcockian story about two college students, each with his own troubled past, whose escalating obsession with one another leads to an act of unspeakable violence.
When Paul enters university in early 1970s Pittsburgh, it’s with the hope of moving past the recent death of his father. Sensitive, insecure, and incomprehensible to his grieving family, Paul feels isolated and alone. When he meets the worldly Julian in his freshman ethics class, Paul is immediately drawn to his classmate’s effortless charm.
Paul sees Julian as his sole intellectual equal—an ally against the conventional world he finds so suffocating. Paul will stop at nothing to prove himself worthy of their friendship, because with Julian life is more invigorating than Paul could ever have imagined. But as charismatic as he can choose to be, Julian is also volatile and capriciously cruel, and Paul becomes increasingly afraid that he can never live up to what Julian expects of him.
As their friendship spirals into all-consuming intimacy, they each learn the lengths to which the other will go in order to stay together, their obsession ultimately hurtling them toward an act of irrevocable violence.
Unfolding with a propulsive ferocity, These Violent Delights is an exquisitely plotted excavation of the depths of human desire and the darkness it can bring forth in us.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Micah Nemerever’s seductive debut is a stylish psychological thriller and a stormy love story set in 1970s Pittsburgh. The story follows two college freshmen, troubled rich kid Julian and shy, working-class Paul, who embark on a passionate, forbidden affair—and a series of increasingly risky exploits that will change their lives forever. Nemerever captures the heart-pounding intensity of first love and the delicious jolt of youthful transgression, nudging these universal rites of passage toward something undeniably sinister. These Violent Delights is both chilling and thrilling.
Nemerever's dark, inspired debut depicts a Leopold and Loeb like thrill killing committed by two gay Jewish college students in 1970s Pittsburgh. Sensitive Paul Fleischer, an artist, comes from a working-class family and is grieving his father's recent suicide. He easily falls under the spell of Julian Fromme, a rich psychology student who exudes wit and energy. As the young men become lovers, Paul's family worries about the amount of time he spends with Julian, and his mother pleads with him to hang out with girls, while Paul resigns himself to taking what he can get from the withholding Julian ("If Julian were to love him, it would feel like something he deigned to do. It meant more to be needed"). Julian's power over Paul becomes more intense after he uses Paul to break free of his own overbearing family. Soon the young men are imagining violent deaths ("How about a Helter Skelter kind of thing, wouldn't that be fun? We could paint gibberish in blood on the walls," Julian says), and they work their way up to kidnapping a stranger. The buildup digs into the why as much as the how, allowing Nemerever to chart an enthralling exploration of what drives these young men to violence. Fans of Patricia Highsmith will definitely want to take note of this promising writer.