Publication Date: February 2, 2021
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Instant New York Times Bestseller
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.
“Russell manages a brutal originality. In an era of neat furious accounts of victimhood, this novel stands out for elusiveness, its 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.” —Washington Post2000. 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.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. Written with haunting intimacy, unsettling vulnerability, and a creeping intensity, this is an era-defining novel that brilliantly captures and reflects the shifting cultural mores transforming our relationships and society itself.
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