ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY’S BREAKOUT AUTHOR TO WATCH IN 2020
“Brilliant and stunning . . . an absolute must read.” – GILLIAN FLYNN
“A well-constructed package of dynamite.” – STEPHEN KING
A 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
ONE OF THE MOST BUZZED ABOUT DEBUTS IN YEARS
AN INTERNATIONAL SENSATION SOLD IN 24 TERRITORIES AND COUNTING
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.
Includes a bonus conversation with Kate Elizabeth Russell, Grace Gummer, and Jessica Williams (editor of My Dark Vanessa).
This audiobook includes an episode of the Book Club Girl Podcast, featuring an interview with Kate Elizabeth Russell about My Dark Vanessa.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
We couldn’t stop thinking about Kate Elizabeth Russell’s powerful and deeply disturbing debut. Told from the point of view of its titular heroine, the novel maps two distinct eras of Vanessa’s life. We’re pulled into the thrill and turmoil of 15-year-old Vanessa’s experiences as she embarks on a “romance” with her much older English teacher, Jacob, and grows to feel like he’s the only one who truly understands her. But adult Vanessa is starting to see the story differently, struggling to reconcile the relationship that altered the course of her life with the accusations of other former students who were targeted by Jacob. TV actress (and daughter of Meryl Streep) Grace Gummer reads Russell’s novel and she does a great job trapping us inside Vanessa’s claustrophobic, traumatized mind. A vitally important listen for the #MeToo age, My Dark Vanessa combines visceral detail with thoughtful nuance. Your book club will spend hours discussing this one.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I can understand why it was written, but it was just too graphic and made me sick to my stomach. Couldn’t get through it.
Amazing new author, important book for everyone to read
Couldn’t even finish it. Been there done that, man older than my mere 15 years and thrown out as he impregnates another girl my age. Only to return to his gallivanting and his wife and children.