Title: These Violent Delights
Author: Victoria Namkung
Publisher: Griffith Moon Publishing
At Windemere School for Girls, one of America’s elite private schools, Dr. Gregory Copeland is the beloved chair of the English Department. A married father with a penchant for romantic poetry—and impressionable teenage girls—he operates in plain sight for years, until one of his former students goes public with allegations of inappropriate conduct. With the help of an investigative journalist, and two additional Windemere alumnae who had relationships with Copeland as students, the unlikely quartet unites to take him down.
Set in modern-day Los Angeles, These Violent Delights is a literary exploration of the unyielding pressures and vulnerabilities that so many women and girls experience, and analyzes the ways in which our institutions and families fail to protect or defend us. A suspenseful and nuanced story told from multiple points of view, the novel examines themes of sexuality, trauma, revenge, and the American myth of liberty and justice for all.
These Violent Delights is a deep, multi-faceted novel which touches upon a very emotive issues: teacher relationships (of a sexual nature) with pupils.
This subject matter is, of course, very pertinent to today’s issues, and though it might not be right to say it is an ‘enjoyable’ read, I did nevertheless enjoy it as it was engagingly written and very interesting. There was plenty of suspense, but it wasn’t a mystery because the reader knows from the beginning what has happened to certain people and who did this to them, but you’re never sure if Dr Copeland is going to get what he deserves – and, as the novel goes on, more and more of the teacher in question’s behaviour is revealed.
These Violent Delights is an interesting – and at times, shocking too – read and I found it made me consider how I’d react to this, both as a young impressionable girl still at school and also as an adult, knowing how topical this issue is today. It’s easy to see why someone very young would not know how to react, but not at all easy to see why the school in question would not take more direct and immediate action.
The story incorporates developments from a journalistic perspective and from the perspective of the victims themselves which I thought was really impactful. Both accounts are horrifying in their own way – we learn of some of the awful responses the public, school and other people have to the story breaking, and of course learning more about the calculated grooming by Dr Copeland himself is also really disturbing. The story presents everything in a realistic way and at some parts the story really hits home. I would recommend this to anyone looking for an interesting, thought-provoking read.
Many thanks to Griffith Moon Publishing for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.