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These Violent Delights

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  1,772 ratings  ·  548 reviews
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
Hardcover, 480 pages
Published September 15th 2020 by Harper
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J. Brendan The book is set in the 1970s around the Watergate hearings. While there are historical inspirations for the central characters (as discussed in the au…moreThe book is set in the 1970s around the Watergate hearings. While there are historical inspirations for the central characters (as discussed in the author's note at the end) the inspirations are from other historical periods and settings. (less)

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Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,772 ratings  ·  548 reviews

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Jan 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
this is a story of: obsession, violence, intellect, passion, and cruelty.

and it consumed me entirely.
Well, this book absolutely gutted me. I think I'll be having a book hangover for awhile after reading Micah Nemerever's epic These Violent Delights . There's absolutely no way that I believe that this is Micah's debut novel, because the prose is so wickedly beautiful. It's being compared as The Secret History meets Call Me By Your Name, and I can definitely see that, but honestly, this book is better than both of them.

These Violent Delights takes place in 1970s Pittsburgh and centers arou
“They could only stitch themselves back together if they did something irreversible.”

Heavenly Creatures by way of Patricia Highsmith, plus a sprinkle of Like Minds, and with the kind of teenage morbidity one could find in Hangsaman or Stoker.

Adroit and gripping, These Violent Delights is a superlative debut novel. Being the self-proclaimed connoisseur of academia fiction that I am, I was drawn by the comparisons to The Secret History and I was amazed to discover that unlike other releases (no
mina reads™️
Nov 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dark-academia
What the everloving fuck was that??? I loved it

If this was 150 pages shorter I’d give it five stars but alas the middle dragged
Aug 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: edelweiss-arc-s
Wow, for a debut, this is an exceptionally written book but at the same time I didn't really like it. Let me explain.

1970's Pittsburgh

Paul is a quiet, shy, studious kid and on his first day in college he meets the charming, confident, and alluring Julian. The friendship begins easily enough because they both intellectually stimulate one another. Over time this friendship turns into an obsession for both of them. Both wanting to control the other. Both pushing each others boundaries. Both hurtin
All right. I've procrastinated all I can.

The time is come.

I have to do the most dreaded thing I ever do...figure out how I "feel" about something.

Even though I am someone who reviews every book she writes, and even though I read hundreds of books a year, I try to think about feelings as infrequently as possible. I go with a gut rating, I often change it when I actually write the review, and that's it.

But then...once in a while...Nightmare. Chaos. Destruction. A book like this comes along, with a
C.G. Drews
This book is an excruciating delight. That's honestly the best description I can come up with after having finished it weeks ago and still not having the words for a review. It's a slowly, intoxicating book of violence and mental illness and subtle cruelty and consuming obsessive love. It's a mess, and it's so beautifully written. It's definitely the kind of story to haunt you as well as make you think.

There are literally layers of thoughts and concepts to glean from the pages, but one that cau
Jun 30, 2020 marked it as to-read
Come through homoerotic academic thrillers.
Ashleigh (a frolic through fiction)
This book really was a fever-dream of obsession and spiralling mentality.

Initially starting this book, it hit a lot of themes you would expect from a story dubbed as "dark academia". The prologue throws you right into some shady business, and so you head into this book knowing that somehow, somewhere, this plot will escalate dramatically. Adding on the immediate display of intelligence via ethical debates in college, the appreciation for art, and the macabre interests of both characters, the da
Lyn❤Loves❤Listening #AUDIOBOOKADDICT
Audio 5 +++ Stars
Story....4.25 Stars

This was sooooo messed up and exhausting it took me days to finish. But the writing and execution made it hard for me to dnf.
Ellie (faerieontheshelf)
why is it that whenever 'escalating obsession' is mentioned anywhere, I perk up like I'm being offered an extreme amount of money

but also: M/M DARK ACADEMIA!! I think a fascinating aspect of more modern dark academia is how the latent content of older dark academia novels (i.e. The Secret History)is being analysed and brought to the forefront - in this instance, the latent homoerotic content that underlies many many DA novels.
Jun 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbtqia
Actual rating: 3.5 (rounded down)

This book—this BOOK!
I’m trying so very hard to parse my emotions into something organized; into something that makes sense, but...

Let me just say: for a debut, this is a soaring achievement. The prose is beautiful and far beyond anything I’ve read since Donna Tartt’s incomparable The Secret History. I know it’s touted as THS meets CMBYN, but I didn’t see much of that, really. It’s more in line with the Leopold and Loeb case (as mentioned), than those literary wor
Jan 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars
Erin (from Long Island, NY)
Oct 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
SO good! Just now finished & I have no words! I couldn’t put it down & even after it’s over, my mind is still on Julian & Paul. I need time to recover.. Wow.
Sep 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
[laughs nervously] what the FUCK
Dec 06, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Although this started out well, by the halfway mark I was so disenchanted, I almost DNF'd it. Like many (most?) debut novels, it suffers from being both overwritten and underdeveloped. A good third of its bloated 463 pages could/should have been jettisoned ... and yet there seemed to be several key scenes that cried out for more information; I never did quite get WHY the two protagonists decide to do a thrill kill - they never even really discuss it, it just suddenly seems to be in the offing. A ...more
Aimal (Bookshelves & Paperbacks)
inject dark academia into my veins
Marieke du Pré
Sometimes I read a story that haunts me, not necessarily in a negative way. These books draw me in, and I can’t let go. Even when I’m not reading, I still think about them or have this feeling in my chest I can’t describe. These Violent Delights was such a book. It was so incredibly tense and obsessive, and it made me thoughtful and breathless.

Although this story is about two seventeen-year-olds (in the first chapters, Paul is even only sixteen), it’s definitely not an easy read. It’s dark and ...more
Sep 02, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2020
I finally gave up a little over 200 pages in. It's well-written, but the two main characters are so intensely unlikeable that I don't care what happens to them. It's just page after page of two miserable, self-loathing teenagers being terrible to each other with occasional bursts of family drama and angsty, disappointing sex. I loved The Secret History and Call Me By Your Name, and I understand the comparison, but this book has none of the qualities I found so captivating in those titles. No ste ...more
Feb 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Right up front, this book is not for everyone. There is no happiness, no redemption but obsession, compulsion and heartbreak. While reading this I kept thinking about Alfred Hitchcock’s film “Rope” and a film I saw in the early 90’s “Swoon” which was about, not inspired by, the Leopold and Loeb murder. After finishing the book and reading the author’s notes it turns out Leopold & Loeb, the film “Rope” and to a further extent, another 90’s film I love, “Heavenly Creatures”, which was an early Pet ...more
Sep 30, 2020 rated it liked it
Sometimes you go in thinking a book way tailor made for you, only to forget that the destination isn't always as important as the journey. This is probably overall a 2.5 for me, despite being among many of my friends favorite books.


- Queer M/M story
- Codependency, yearning, obsession
- Dark Academia
- Corruption. arcs
- Tragic love story.

These Violent Delights follows our main character Paul, a kid from a loving, but at times broken home as he attends school and meets his boyfriend Julian. Ju
the fascinating and complex themes lurking beneath the surface of these violent delights suffocate underneath nemerever's prose, which is never quite sure how much to yield to the reader and thus errs on the side of excess.

nemerever sets the bare bones of a plot that on first glance may seem like the secret history—but frankly, the similarities are surface-level at best, and it would seem that nemerever does not even cite tartt's work as an inspiration. instead, nemerever veers directly into "q
Sam Miller
Oct 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
this book fucked me ALL THE WAY UP
Jan 26, 2021 rated it liked it
3.75/5 Stars

This book was advertised as The Secret History meets Call Me by Your Name and let's all be real, it's the reason why I was interested in reading it. The novel has some of the more common dark academia themes, but I think it outdoes them and it deeply explores topics that aren't often related to this subgenre.

Julian and Paul are two young boys who collide into each other because each of them sees something in the other, something that feels like they had been looking for all their li
Jan 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-favorites
mom come pick me up i'm scared ...more
Saimon (ZanyAnomaly)
I think i've put off writing this review long enough, this is one SCRUMPTIOUS novel and I need y'all to pick it up as soon as it releases. I will NOT take no for an answer.
Dec 05, 2020 rated it it was ok
This is an explosively erotic and erudite thriller that the reader either really likes or really doesn’t. I don’t believe that I have read a single review that the reader is on the fence about this one. From the very first page it is filled with a tremendous sense of dread and urgency that remains until the final page. Paul is drawn to Julian like a moth to a flame and soon they develop much more than a friendship. Both are freshmen in 1970 at the University at Pittsburg. Paul is painfully shy a ...more
Nov 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Clever and well-written suspense. The ending--tragic BUT brilliant.
ash | novelly rooted
Apr 25, 2020 marked it as i-need-2020
Shelves: lgbtqia, fiction, adult
I just requested this on Netgalley. If The Secret History and Call Me By Your Name had a baby, this is the result. If I don't get approved, I am going to cry.
Two college students - check
Troubled pasts - check
Escalating obsessions WITH ONE ANOTHER- check check CHEEEECKKKK
Friendship to an all consuming intimacy - check
Oh, and if you haven't realized already.. IT'S GAY - CHECK


This book has the kind of blurb that indicates it would be a guaranteed 5 star read for me. In theory it should have been a favourite and I think maybe that it might be a favourite, but one of those uncomfortable-not-quite-a-favourite-favourites. I need to let it sit for a while because at the moment I feel like I'll be thinking about this one often, so much so that I'll probably reread it at some point - but I'm not sure if I would like it more or less on a reread.

This is a story abou
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Ending *SPOILERS* 5 165 Oct 19, 2020 08:08AM  

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Micah Nemerever was trained as an art historian. He wrote his master’s thesis on queer identity and gender anxiety in the art of the Weimar Republic. He is an avid home chef and amateur historian of queer cinema.

After studying in rural Connecticut and Austin, Texas, he now resides in the Pacific Northwest.

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