Vladimir: A Novel (Paperback)
February 2022 Indie Next List
“Vladimir is an audacious story about gender, power, and shame told through the charged voice of an English professor at a small liberal arts college. The personal and political come to an explosive conclusion in this clever debut.”
— Linda Kass, Gramercy Books, Bexley, OH
An NPR, Washington Post, Time, People, Vulture, Guardian, Vox, Kirkus Reviews, Newsweek, LitHub, and New York Public Library Best Book of the Year * “Delightful…cathartic, devious, and terrifically entertaining.” —The New York Times * “Timely, whip-smart, and darkly funny.” —People (Book of the Week)
A provocative, razor-sharp, and timely debut novel about a beloved English professor facing a slew of accusations against her professor husband by former students—a situation that becomes more complicated when she herself develops an obsession of her own...
“When I was a child, I loved old men, and I could tell that they also loved me.” And so we are introduced to our narrator who’s “a work of art in herself” (The Washington Post): a popular English professor whose charismatic husband at the same small liberal arts college is under investigation for his inappropriate relationships with his former students. The couple have long had a mutual understanding when it comes to their extra-marital pursuits, but with these new allegations, life has become far less comfortable for them both. And when our narrator becomes increasingly infatuated with Vladimir—a celebrated, married young novelist who’s just arrived on campus—their tinder box world comes dangerously close to exploding.
“Timely, whip-smart, and darkly funny” (People), Vladimir takes us into charged territory, where the boundaries of morality bump up against the impulses of the human heart. This edgy, uncommonly assured debut perfectly captures the personal and political minefield of our current moment, exposing the nuances and the grey area between power and desire.
About the Author
Julia May Jonas is a writer and theater director. She has taught theater at Skidmore College and New York University, and lives in Brooklyn with her family. Vladimir is her debut novel.
“Delightful…a witty dance with the ghost of Nabokov and a razor-edged commentary on academia at our current fraught moment...by turns, cathartic, devious and terrifically entertaining.” —Jean Hanff Korelitz, The New York Times
"A virtuoso debut...our unnamed narrator [is] so witty, sharp and seductive that, as a reader, I was pretty much putty in her hands." —Maureen Corrigan, Fresh Air
“Vladimir goes into such outrageous territory that my jaw literally dropped at moments while I was reading it. There’s a rare blend here of depth of character, mesmerizing prose, and fast-paced action.” —Kate Tuttle, The Boston Globe
“Jonas, with a potent, pumping voice, has drawn a character so powerfully candid that when she does things that are malicious, dangerous and, yes, predatory, we only want her to do them again.” —Jessica Ferri, Los Angeles Times
"A deliciously dark fable of sex and power... Earmark an entire afternoon to devour this propulsive story of obsession, scandal, and transgressive desire." —Esquire
If Netflix’s The Chair, Lisa Taddeo’s best-seller Three Women, and the most compelling passages of Ottessa Moshfegh’s Death in Her Hands had a love child (just go with me here), it would be this fiction debut. With a title character who’s a sought-after young novelist new to a college faculty, Vladimir leaves the reader with more questions than answers—about sex, and sexual politics—in the most delicious way. —Entertainment Weekly
"Jonas’s narrator is a work of art in herself." —The Washington Post
“Timely, whip-smart, and darkly funny.” —People (Book of the Week)
“[Vladimir] soldiers into charged territory... with an unreliable and at times almost defiantly unlikable narrator at the helm. This woman is no joke. She’s ravenous—for rich and indulgent meals, big sloshing glasses of wine and sneaked cigarettes... In taking this older woman's desire deadly seriously, Vladimir proves seductively subversive." —USA Today
"Funny, wise and instantly engaging, Vladimir is how I like my thrill rides: brainy and sexy." —Maria Semple, author of Where'd You Go Bernadette
"Outrageously fun... Jonas unravels a taut and bold narrative about power, ambition, and female desire." —Time