These Violent Delights by Micah Nemerever is a book that would have flown under my radar if not for my friend Sai . You might know him as the friend who made me read 6 of his favourite books. He literally shoved this book into my face every second he got and I did try picking it up multiple times only to dnf. Finally, fed up, he sent me his own copy and that’s how I finally finished reading this book. All I can say after finishing is that, I am shooketh!! Even after 2 months!! Read on to find out why.
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.
Trigger and Content Warning : Toxic relationship, Murder, Emotional abuse,Suicide, Homophobia, Self harm, Sexual violence
In a Nutshell
- Addictive study of toxic & obsessive queer relationships
- Explores how adolescent anger born of grief and ostracization leads to violence
- Beautiful writing that leaves you transfixed
- Plot twists foreshadowed so subtly that you are left mindblown
- Psycho gays, murder planning and chess games
These Violent Delights is a deep exploration of adolescent anger left to fester without an outlet and how it permeates into every single aspect of your life.It is an intoxicating, addictive study into the way loneliness, ostracisation, childhood trauma and abuse leads to unhealthy obsessive codependency and ultimately results in complete and utter self destruction.
The way Nemerever gets into your minds through the characters of Julian and Paul and just twists everything up is scarily beautiful. We readers are led in one direction and then left scrambling to reevaluate everything we thought we knew at the end. The narration takes us deep into the psyche of these characters with such startling ease that I was amazed this was a debut.
“He remembered the way love had burned through him like a flame under glass, grasping outward, devouring what air it had left before it choked.”
The character arcs of Julian and Paul was I think one of the best I have ever read! They are the classic embodiments of the ‘hate to love’ and ‘love to hate’ tropes. Paul’s deep insecurities, his intense self loathing and his growing obsession with Julian are all handled so deftly and with such maturity. You feel their yearning passion and angst so deep in your marrow that there were many a time I felt squeezed out of breath. They make you go through the whole gamut of human emotions, swinging like a pendulum, from one extreme to the other.
“Of course they would promise each other everything. Of course eternity would yield to them once they’d earned it.”
Nemerever’s writing is pure genius. He weaves magic with his words. They are so evocative and so hauntingly poignant. The intense claustrophobia of Paul’s obsession with Julian, the growing sense of dread and the pervasive atmosphere of impending doom are all conveyed with such élan that I was left mindblown. His sentence structures, the way he draws parallels, the subtlety with which he handles this complex subject- I mean I could go on and on about how utterly captivating his prose is but I will stop now and let you discover it for yourself.
“He couldn’t stand to look at the truth, even now. All they were—all they had ever been—was a pair of sunflowers who each believed the other was the sun.”
These Violent Delights left me emotionally depleted and with a book hangover so intense that I couldn’t read for two weeks. My brain was wholly consumed by it. Every so often my mind will light up with recognition at the subtle forshadowing in a scene I had missed or in awe at the consummate poetry of that ending. I am already planning my reread because 2 months later, I am still thinking about it.
In conclusion, TVD is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. It’s not for those of you looking for happy gays, sad gays or even murderous gays. But, if you are looking for psycho gays spiraling into an abyss of annihilation cloaked in obsessive love, then, TVD might just leave you a twisted disturbed mess of a human at the end, crying for more.
You will love These Violent Delights if you loved :
- The Secret History by Donna Tartt
- If We Were Villains by M L Rio
- The Wicker King by K Ancrum
- Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman
- Hannibal (TV Show)
Best Song to pair this book with : Favourite Crime by Olivia Rodrigo from the album Sour
Let’s Catch Up
Are you a fan of Dark Academia ? Which are your favourite books in this genre? Is These Violent Delights on your tbr? Or have you already read it? If so, What did you think? Tell me in the commentsFollow Books with Anjali on WordPress.com