BookBrowse Reviews My Dark Vanessa by Kate Russell

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My Dark Vanessa

A Novel

by Kate Russell

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Russell X
My Dark Vanessa by Kate Russell
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2020, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2, 2021, 384 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs
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Kate Elizabeth Russell's debut novel, My Dark Vanessa, is a complex exploration of guilt and innocence set against the backdrop of the #MeToo movement.

The plot of Kate Elizabeth Russell's My Dark Vanessa follows the life of Vanessa Wye, who at the age of 15 begins an affair with a teacher of hers, Jacob Strane, not quite thirty years her senior. The first-person present narration first shows Vanessa at 32 years old, as she becomes aware of social media posts concerning her former instructor; another young woman has come forward accusing him of abusing her when she was his student. Strane calls Vanessa, and while it seems they've maintained contact over the years, it's clear that his purpose is to make sure Vanessa has no intention of backing the woman's story. It's also apparent that while Vanessa's life is a mess—dead-end job, meaningless one-night stands with strangers and self-medication with drugs and alcohol—she is still in love with Strane and thinks he's done no wrong. As more women turn up with similar claims, ...

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