Book Review: The Virgins by Pamela Erens

Passionate people have a passionate way of doing things, including life and death. Erens’ book revolves around an inter-racial romantic relationship between Seung Jung, a son of Korean immigrants, who has come to study at Auburn Academy on merit and Aviva Rossner, a Jewish girl who tends to be on the rebel side.

Narrated by a rejected suitor, Bruce Bennet Jones, the book takes us through the relationship of Jung and Rossner, which eventually leads to Jung’s death. The death was revealed a little too early in the book, and since the revelation I read the book waiting for death to come, the rest being muted to the side.

Yet, the novel is beautifully written-Bennet’s underlying jealousy as he narrates the story, Jung’s confused thoughts as he battles between the conservative Korean mindset of his parents and his own urges and of course, Rossner’s wanting to be ready for something she wasn’t. The book is perhaps not the best of the coming of age genre, but tells us a dark and dangerous story nonetheless.



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