Author: Jean-Philippe Blondel, trans. Alison Anderson
Publisher: New Vessel Press
Type of book: Painting, relationships, aging, artist, fame, family, moving on, France, friendship, model/artist relationships
Year it was published: 2019 (original in 2018)
A French teacher on the verge of retirement is invited to a glittering opening that showcases the artwork of his former student, who has since become a celebrated painter. This unexpected encounter leads to the older man posing for his portrait. Possibly in the nude. Such personal exposure at close range entails a strange and troubling pact between artist and sitter that prompts both to reevaluate their lives. Blondel, author of the hugely popular novel The 6:41 to Paris, evokes an intimacy of dangerous intensity in a tale marked by profound nostalgia and a reckoning with the past that allows its two characters to move ahead in to the future.
Main characters include Louis and Alexandre, although it often feels as if Alexandre is more of a secondary character than the main one. Louis Claret is an aging professor who is divorced from his wife and seems to be afraid to move on forward. I often got the impression that he finds himself lacking and that he is cynical and wants to be removed from human affairs. Alexandre Laudin is a famous painter/artist who is struggling with his own demons and who wants to give face to them, I believe. Sort of to excise them.
Relationships do not remain static
The tale is told in first person narrative from Louis' point of view. Louis is an aging teacher who seems to be torn between past and future, standing on a precipice of a mountain but having no knowledge which way lies safety. I also should mention that this story is not erotica, and I didn't expect erotica, but for some odd reason I did expect a full nude painting and for the author to delve deeply into that aspect of the relationship that Louis and Alexandre find themselves in. What I felt that I was trying to grasp but couldn't is the ever-changing nature of relationships that such intimacy fosters, and few times in my head I actually did think and wonder if this is similar to courting/dating. I also think that I would have liked to be more with Alexandre, the painter rather than Louis the model, because I found myself more drawn to Alexandre than to Louis. I also found the italicized chapters confusing and wasn't really sure who was telling the tale: although later on I figured out whom it could be.
(From France Book Tours)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
was born in 1964 in Troyes, France
where he lives as an author and English teacher.
His novel The 6:41 to Paris has been acclaimed
in both the United States and Europe.
ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR
Alison Anderson is a novelist and translator of literature from French. Among the authors she has translated are JMG Le Clézio, Christian Bobin, Muriel Barbery and Amélie Nothomb. She has lived in Northern California and currently lives in a village in Switzerland.
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In 2016, I have had a chance to read and be blown over by this author's novel: THE 6:41 TO PARIS, to which I find myself remembering the tale, becoming involved in minutia of the characters and of how much more wasn't said than said. Having said that, I expected for EXPOSED to be very similar to 6:41 TO PARIS. Alas, though, EXPOSED is not THE 6:41 TO PARIS. I enjoy reading literary novels and learning whatever I can about human conditions and how its seen through different eyes. But at the same time, I expect myself to become familiar with the message that the author is sending across. Unfortunately in EXPOSED, it didn't happen. I found myself unable to identify in the situation that Louis and Alexandre have found themselves in. I feel that I am probably in the wrong age group to fully appreciate and understand the tale.
This is for France Book Tours
VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR SCHEDULE
Wednesday, May 15
Bilingual Review + Giveaway at Mangeuse de livres
Friday, May 17
Review + Giveaway at Readerbuzz
Monday, May 20
Review + Giveaway at Hall Ways Blog
Tuesday, May 21
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Wednesday, May 22
Review + Excerpt + Giveaway at Locks, Hooks and Books
Thursday, May 23
Review + Giveaway at Musings of a Writer & Unabashed Francophile
Friday, May 24
Review + Excerpt + Giveaway at Book Dilettante
Tuesday, May 28
Review + Giveaway at Words And Peace
3 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)