These Violent Delights

Micah Nemerever. Harper, $27.99 (480p) ISBN 978-0-06-296363-5
Nemerever’s dark, inspired debut depicts a Leopold and Loeb–like thrill killing committed by two gay Jewish college students in 1970s Pittsburgh. Sensitive Paul Fleischer, an artist, comes from a working-class family and is grieving his father’s recent suicide. He easily falls under the spell of Julian Fromme, a rich psychology student who exudes wit and energy. As the young men become lovers, Paul’s family worries about the amount of time he spends with Julian, and his mother pleads with him to hang out with girls, while Paul resigns himself to taking what he can get from the withholding Julian (“If Julian were to love him, it would feel like something he deigned to do. It meant more to be needed”). Julian’s power over Paul becomes more intense after he uses Paul to break free of his own overbearing family. Soon the young men are imagining violent deaths (“How about a Helter Skelter kind of thing, wouldn’t that be fun? We could paint gibberish in blood on the walls,” Julian says), and they work their way up to kidnapping a stranger. The buildup digs into the why as much as the how, allowing Nemerever to chart an enthralling exploration of what drives these young men to violence. Fans of Patricia Highsmith will definitely want to take note of this promising writer. Agent: Caroline Eisenmann, Frances Goldin Literary Agency. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 07/13/2020
Release date: 09/01/2020
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 480 pages - 978-0-06-296365-9
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