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Sunday, July 5, 2020

Review: These Violent Delights by Micah Nemerever @harperbooks @nemerevermore

These Violent Delights 
by Micah Nemerever 

Thank you Harper Books for this copy.

Publisher: Harper
Publish Date: September 15, 2020
448 Pages
Genres: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+

The Secret History meets Call Me by Your Name 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 and Julian meet as university freshmen in early 1970s Pittsburgh, they are immediately drawn to one another. A talented artist, Paul is sensitive and agonizingly insecure, incomprehensible to his working-class family, and desolate with grief over his father’s recent death.

Paul sees the wealthy, effortlessly charming Julian as his sole intellectual equal—an ally against the conventional world he finds so suffocating. He idolizes his friend for his magnetic confidence. But as charismatic as he can choose to be, Julian is also volatile and capriciously cruel. And admiration isn’t the same as trust.

As their friendship spirals into an all-consuming intimacy, Paul is desperate to protect their precarious bond, even as it becomes clear that pressures from the outside world are nothing compared with the brutality they are capable of inflicting on one another. Separation is out of the question. But as their orbit compresses and their grip on one another tightens, they are drawn to an act of irrevocable violence that will force the young men to confront a shattering truth at the core of their relationship.

Exquisitely plotted, unfolding with a propulsive ferocity, These Violent Delights is a novel of escalating dread and an excavation of the unsettling depths of human desire.

My Review:

Wooooooooooow.  Where do I start with this read?  Early 1970s, Paul and Julian meet and finally find an equal intellect within each other.  This prompts an immediate magnetism between two very different, yet similar individuals.  How could they not become attracted towards each other? How do they NOT become so utterly dependent on the other that it not only becomes unhealthy, both mentally and physically, but continue in such "violent delights".  

This is such a powerful read.  I loved the banter between them.  The word play and intellectual stimulation they find within each other is fascinating and even consuming to you as a reader.  The obsession that grows with each page is challenging at times to read.  I did find some parts slow but at the same time, these pages are necessary to really soak in what is happening between these two.  What happens here is so subtly done that while the ending is quite powerful, you realize that everything leading up to this point is also equally powerful in its own right and you realize that SO many factors within each of their lives play a part in all of it.

As the synopsis portrays, it's The Secret History meets Call Me By Your Name.  I never read the latter, but I can definitely say that it has that feel of reading the former.  Honestly, this isn't typically my favorite writing style to read.  However, with this particular story, the psychological entirety of it all kept me riveted to the pages - even through some of the slower parts.  

This isn't an easy read by any means.  There's no levity to offset the seriousness we get straight away from the prologue that immediately draws you in.  A book that will definitely stick with you for quite some time after you turn that last page.


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