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A dark novel about power and sex

Fiction: My Dark Vanessa

Kate Elizabeth Russell

4th Estate €12.99

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Uncomfortable read: Kate Elizabeth Russell

Uncomfortable read: Kate Elizabeth Russell

My Dark Vanessa

My Dark Vanessa

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Uncomfortable read: Kate Elizabeth Russell

In 2001, Vanessa Wye is a bright and promising 15-year-old student in Browick private school, when her 42-year-old English teacher, Jacob Strane, first makes a play for her.

In 2017, with the #MeToo movement finding its feet, Vanessa is 32 and her future is behind her. She lives alone in Portland, Maine, and she works in a local hotel. She smokes a bowl of blow before her shift every day and drinks herself to sleep every night. Her father has died recently and the only real boyfriend she's ever had has moved on.

In an early conversation with the ex-boyfriend, Vanessa insists that Strane has nothing to do with her life having gone down the toilet. He loved her. "It wasn't about how young I was... Above everything else, he loved my mind." Indeed.