The Exhibitionist by Charlotte Mendelson review

Charlotte Mendelson’s “seditious, award-winning novels” are mostly about chaotic, dysfunctional families, Leyla Sanai said in The audience. Her fifth revolves around a “monstrous” artist named Ray Hanrahan and his downtrodden wife, Lucia. Narcissistic, abusive and controlling, Ray has spent decades “destroying” Lucia’s own artistic ambitions, forcing her to tend to his needs and look after their (now grown) children.

With a “magnificent private view” of his work about to open, he has invited friends and family to their north London home. The result is a “glorious ride” of a novel – one in which “Mendelson observes the minutiae of human behavior like a comic anthropologist.”

There’s a lot going on in this novel – “sometimes too much” – but overall “the effect is heady,” said Susie Mesure in The times. Shifting between perspectives, Mendelson cranks the drama to a “fiery climax.”

There’s a “touch of HBO successor‘ in this story of a ‘family under the spell of a despotic patriarch,’ Madeleine Feeny said in The Daily Telegraph. It mixes “eroticism, absurdity and pathos” and is “electric”.

Mantle 336 pages £16.99; The Bookstore of the Week £13.99

book cover

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Fry Electronics Team

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