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"Art, love and longing, the French way. Blondel’s book ... is the genuine an emotionally taut portrayal of late-in-life, post-marriage drift."
― The New York Times Book Review 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 into the future.

158 pages, Paperback

First published June 4, 2019

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About the author

Jean-Philippe Blondel

52 books74 followers
Jean-Philippe Blondel was born in Troyes, France, in 1964. His mother was a schoolteacher and his father worked for the National Railways. Jean-Philippe still lives in Troyes today after attending university in Paris and travelling around the world, including South and Central America, Nepal, India, and most of Europe.

Writing has always been Jean-Philippe’s way of expressing himself. He started writing poems when he was seven, then moved on to short stories as a teen. He wrote his first novel when he was 19. One book that had a profound effect on him as a child was Alice in Wonderland: he tended to identify with the White Rabbit…

Jean-Philippe’s favorite subjects at school were languages: French, English, and Spanish. He remembers telling his parents, at the age of 12, that he wanted to be an English teacher, which he’s been for the last 20 years in a high school.

Since no one in his family was particularly interested in literature, Jean-Philippe often wonders how reading and writing took on so much importance in his life—and at such an early age. However, books became his life-support when, at the age of 17, he lost his mother and brother in a car crash, and his father in another crash four years later.

His novels—for adults, young adults, or teenagers—are always based on everyday life. He writes in the first person because he wants readers to identify closely with the narrator, whom he tries to portray as the person next door. His novella, A Place to Live (2010), takes place in a high school. It is a very special text for him and reading it aloud always evokes strong emotions. He dedicated it to a class which he taught for three years: he had so enjoyed watching his students grow up and evolve that he wanted to offer them something special when they graduated. He read it to them during their last period together, and even now, several years later, thinking about the moment moves him deeply.
Jean-Philippe writes with the earplugs of his MP3 player in. He carefully selects one song before writing, and it becomes the original soundtrack of the novel. He listens to it over and over, sometimes forgetting everything else, including where he is and what he’s doing there. It gives him the opportunity to live two lives at the same time—a fictitious one (because he so identifies with his narrators) and a real-life one. In the latter, he is married to a primary school teacher and has two daughters, aged 8 and 11. His favorite activities are teaching, writing, reading, and rock music. He is working on his eighth novel for adults, which also explores the boundaries between teenagers and “so-called” grown-ups.

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5 stars
53 (18%)
4 stars
109 (38%)
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96 (33%)
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27 (9%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 56 reviews
Profile Image for Adam Dalva.
Author 8 books1,637 followers
March 7, 2019
Fabulous, quick novel, out this June. It is an examination of aging and contemporary art - a high school english teacher approaching 60 is approached by one of his former students, now a famous painter, to pose for a sequence of paintings. As the modeling becomes more intense and invasive, both subject and artist experience flashbacks to their pasts, to all the roads not taken in their lives. In its gentle, low-key approach (with moments of thrill), this reminds me of Toussaint or Dag Solstad, but with an unfettered nostalgia that a work like this would more commonly avoid.
Profile Image for Katia N.
585 reviews704 followers
March 21, 2020
Very good novella. Memory, relationships, what does it mean to lead a fulfilled life - those are the questions asked. A school teacher approaching retirement reconnects with his former student who is now a famous artist. He wants the older man to pose for him. This triggers a lot of long suppressed memories resurfacing for both of the men.

Some scenes are incredibly touching, especially the ones related to the friendships in youth. But the author sometimes does not avoid a little slide towards sentimentality.

Pleasant read in one sitting, not very complicated but not shallow either. Reminded me “The sense of ending” and other short novels by Julian Barnes.

Profile Image for JimZ.
1,061 reviews495 followers
September 10, 2020
I believe Jean-Philippe Blondel primarily writes young adult (YA) novels. This novel, as well as another work of his, “The 6:41 to Paris,” does not have the YA label.

I believe a GR reviewer thought well of this book, and hence I procured a copy. I liked it well enough but wouldn’t go any further than 3 stars.

It involves a man, Louis who is pushing 60 years old…he’s divorced, his daughters are living their own lives, and he is aware of impending retirement. He meets a former high school student of his who is now a famous artist, Alexandre Laudin, and one thing leads to another and the former student is painting his portrait. And I think while he is sitting for his portrait (multiple sittings) he is going back in time and reminiscing (including about how he met his wife, how immediately before meeting his wife he had entirely different plans for his life but because he met his wife here he is with the life he has, and I guess he thinks about the life he might have had….).

The novel is mostly in the “now” but more than several chapters (in italicized font) are about his past, that comes from a journal Louis is now writing. The novel held my interest (it’s only 155 pages). I did not understand the ending, or at least I don’t think I did. Blondel certainly leaves a big clue for the reader early on in the book, but even with that clue I am not entirely sure what is Louis’s last action with Alexandre. It’s important because it’s the last paragraph of the novel!

Despite not grasping the ending, the writing was pretty good throughout and it did get me to thinking in a couple of places in the book. Not so much about looking back on a life and wondering “what if” but looking at the here and now and somewhat frustrated that we live our lives as if there will always be a tomorrow. That we don’t have to say something really meaningful to a loved one right now, out of the blue, but rather have to save such stuff for our deathbed, and that is if we are lucky. Sorry for being morbid! And maybe I am not expressing myself well. Here is one of the passages by the author that got me on this riff, so hopefully you will know I am not going batty. 🤨

The father is talking to one of his daughters on his smart phone using an app so that they see each other during the conversation. He had just met the artist, Alexandre Laudin, and is considering sitting for a portrait, which for him is a really big deal.
“We chat for a few minutes. I don’t mention Alexander Laudin. Nor does she share anything about her love life, her pain, or joy. We let the details of everyday life wash over us, as they engulf our deepest concerns. We merely smile, resort to derision and tender irony. As the years go by, we are less willing to encroach upon the other’s private sphere. We stay at the door of our respective homes, through the intermediary of our computer screens. I have long forgotten the scent of her hair. But when the conversation ends on a final burst of forced laughter and the screen goes black, the years swoop down on me…”

Louis does some things that are not mundane in the novel. Such as inviting a friend to have dinner with him that he as put off for several years. Having a meaningful talk with his ex-wife who is moving to another country and therefore they won’t be seeing much of each other anymore.

Note: this book was published by a small press, New Vessel Press, established in 2012 by two people who are frustrated that translated books of fiction in the US account for 3% of the total number of books out there. So, I definitely want to take a look at the other works (and they have a lot) they are publishing. Here is their website so you can see what they are all about and what they have available in their catalog: https://newvesselpress.com/

Profile Image for Leo.
4,383 reviews404 followers
March 28, 2021
This was not my thing. Not sure why I didn't like it. The writing was good but I didn't get invested in the story. The artist side of the book just didn't interested me nor did the characters intruige me.
Profile Image for William.
1,065 reviews5 followers
July 16, 2019
I could as easily have rated this a star higher. Either Blondel or the translator writes very well, and there is a careful etching of the small things which help create and define human relationships. And I did somehow enjoy reading this. (It sure did not take long, because this really is more a novella than a novel.) Despite my rating, I do think this book is worth reading.

I got a bit bored with Louis always being weary: ("Nothing ever moves me anymore at all." "I'm tired and feel numb." "..a tired man who is trying to hold out against time." "My horizons have expanded but my life has shrunk." I also wonder how someone in this condition can muster the energy to be a compelling high school teacher.

To me, the strength of the book lies in the relationship between Louis and his ex-wife, Anne. It is sensitive, complicated and poignant. And who Louis has become at 58 is pretty clear. But neither of these is what the story seems to be about, and I found the relationship between Louis and Alexandre hard to believe.

I can understand abstractly why Louis would be drawn to someone like Alexandre at this point in his life, but not why it actually happens in this story between the two of them. I have more difficulty understanding Alexandre's attraction to Louis. While Alexandre was in Louis' classroom in high school, they had no discernible relationship and Louis barely remembers him. Yet Alexandre says: "You were my ray of sunlight, Louis." I suppose an imagined relationship can have reality for the imaginer, and maybe that's the point here, but it seems a stretch.

I simply don't get what draws each of these people into this friendship. Or maybe it is than Blondel does answer this question, but I don't find it credible. Without the relationship being believable, the story, alas, does not work, at least not for me.

Profile Image for Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance.
5,866 reviews294 followers
May 17, 2019
A teacher, nearing retirement, is unexpectedly invited to a party celebrating the art of a former student. Louis Claret is puzzled for the invitation; what could a celebrity like Alexandre Laudin gain by inviting a tired high school instructor who barely remembers Laudin to this showcase for his work? Claret goes, and meets up with Laudin, and somehow finds himself agreeing to pose for his former student. What is this all about?

I love the tension Jean-Philippe Blondel brings to his stories, the uncertainty, the ambiguity inherent in life. Because the author is French, and because I have read and loved his earlier novel, The 6:41 to Paris, I felt confident that the author would lead me again into a place where I could closely see the emotional resonances of the world that we sometimes avoid, and that he did. I loved the genuine feel of the story, the use of nuance, playing with complexities of life, that the author gave me.

Be warned that this story is not for those who like a big American fireworks ending. No, it's just a story of two lives and the ways they intermingle and weave together and grow apart, lives that interconnect with each other and with others, the way people flame and burn out. It's vivid and compelling, and it's beautiful writing.
Profile Image for ColumbusReads.
402 reviews59 followers
April 22, 2020
The premise of this book seemed completely irresistible to me and I devoured it in one sitting. A compelling, pithy and intriguing novel with wonderful prose by an author with loads of talent.

In a nutshell, Exposed follows Louis Claret, a divorced, olderish (60) English teacher in a French town. Claret is sort of bored and disillusioned with his career when by happenstance he runs into Alexandre Laudin, a former student of his. Laudin is a well-respected painter receiving national acclaim and invites Claret over to pose for him in a series of sittings. In each sitting, we learn more and more about Laudin and his intentions. Ultimately, he reveals to Claret what those intentions are. There’s a sort of awkwardness to their relationship and some sexual tension and homo-eroticism that’s brilliantly handled.

I would be remiss not to mention the fine way the author handles the situation with his ex-wife. We get both flashbacks and current interactions with the two and in many ways I felt I would have liked to learn even more about them together and their relationship. It would have given more context or insight on his feelings, thoughts or reasons he made some of his decisions.

Exposed is a book that slowly builds tension and some may feel it takes a little longer than necessary to get to where its going. I’d advise you to be patient and just go along for the ride. The book is a wonderful blend of art, aging, sexuality and love and it’s beautifully rendered.

The book in many ways reminded me of the classic, DEATH IN VENICE by THOMAS MANN. Different in many ways but some may see where the comparisons are similar. Not a bad book to be compared to I would say. Anxious to read more by this fantastic author.
219 reviews38 followers
July 11, 2019
This was a well executed short novel which defied my belief that it was originally written in a different language due to the skills of translator, Alison Anderson. Blondel's narrator is an older teacher who after being invited to a former student's gallery show, is asked if he would be willing to pose for a triptych by his former student. From that beginning, we are treated to delightful interaction between the narrator and student interspersed with the narrator's streamed thoughts which reveal his past. Blondel's prose is rich with atmospheric considerations. Conversations are brief and playful, often cryptic, supplemented by the narrator's thought or observation on a symbolic detail of the room or a gesture by the other speaker. This all creates an element of mystery or suspense for the reader, keeping us engaged till the end.
April 18, 2021
A read a bit out of my comfort zone. The pacing was good and the length was perfect for dipping my toes into a new genre. I didn't find the story the most interesting, but I also don't think that i was supposed to be this amazing and groundbreaking story. It was all about the reflection and memories, which is nice, but became a bit long drawn for me.
Profile Image for Kristine Hall.
827 reviews44 followers
May 20, 2019
In an effort to reconnect with my Francophile side, I recently decided to join a tour group that is the French equivalent of Lone Star Lit. France Book Tours is all about books and authors with a French connection, and EXPOSED by Jean-Philippe Blondel is the first book I took for review. My heart is happier for the brief foray into the world of Louis Claret, a middle-aged Frenchman who devours novels “with the regularity of a metronome."

“My horizons have expanded, but my life has shrunk. It’s not a paradox. It’s a fate we all share. When constraints begin to fade, we don’t know how to fill our new freedom.”

EXPOSED invokes a certain melancholy, perhaps because I am a similar age to the main character, Louis, or perhaps because of Louis’s frequent reflections of bygone days. The book forces introspection, exploration, and even valuation of one’s true self; hence the title. The characters remove the layers of their lives to expose what is beneath. Interestingly enough, the reader isn’t necessarily privy to seeing what’s there below the trappings. Both Louis and Alexandre are private people; readers are intentionally kept at arm’s length from them and from knowing the characters too well.

“He came forward…emanating that sort of presence that only success and the prime of one’s mid-thirties can give – when an individual is making his way, and trial and error are behind him, and fatigue has not yet set in.”

Author Jean-Philippe Blondel’s use of imagery and figurative language breathes life into every page. Reading a book like this, true literary fiction, makes me long for something…something I can’t quite put my finger on. Whatever it is, while reading EXPOSED, for just a little while, I am somewhere other than in the confines of my day-to-day world. Every time I step away from the novel, I feel blanketed by the memory of it. It has staying power.

What strikes me in this beautiful, lyrical novel, is that it’s a translation from the French, as the literary world says, and Alison Anderson’s work is flawless. Honestly, the writing is superior to many of the novels I read which are in their original language. I am thoroughly impressed with Anderson’s translation, and I am tempted to order a copy of the novel in French because certainly, the source writing must be as beautiful.

EXPOSED doesn’t have screaming, climactic events. It doesn’t have big bang moments or mysteries to be solved. It is not action-packed. EXPOSED is about self-discovery and reflection upon a life lived and about living life. For readers who enjoy immersing themselves into a character, and for those who savor the nuances of growing older and seeing the world through a mature and contemplative lens, I highly recommend EXPOSED.

Thank you to the publisher and France Book Tours for providing me a print copy in exchange for my honest opinion – the only kind I give. This full review and other special features on Hall Ways Blog.

Profile Image for Emmett.
352 reviews38 followers
August 18, 2019
No review prepares one for the exquisiteness of Blondel's prose; it's difficult to put into words its beguiling simplicity. Old age, isolation, fading into a dull and indifferent middle age, breaking out of that to find a renewed sense of freedom which is (ironically?) rooted in reliving a memory - these themes are old ground, but here they are renewed and realised. The vanishing is subtly pitted against the startlingly contemporary - casual mentions of selfies and smartphones are juxtaposed against art gallery viewings, English language teachers who love words, earnest admiration for the way colours dot a canvas.

It does the above just enough to leave a mark; Exposed does not press the point. The novella's overall style reflects the dynamic between the two main characters (painter and sitter, student and teacher) - explorative but to the point, earnest but with gentle irony. Tender and unsparing, like an artist's eye. Blondel writes persuasively about moments accruing fruitlessly into years, people slipping in and out of each other's lives, connections that break as a necessity of the passing of time, and which perhaps are in themselves a rite of passage (e.g. graduating from school). His observations are so seemingly casual and yet so sharp and undeniable, with a melancholy that only deepens the longer a reader sits with it. The most brilliant passages latch onto a minute detail, or echo feelings one had up to this point not found the right words for.

A novel partly about old age and wondering where all that time went, and partly about adolescent maturation and finding one's feet and thinking all that is behind now and being surprised when memories erupt into fresh emotions without warning. The ambiguous ending is very pleasing, and isn't out of place for a book like this. When the novel has gestured vaguely to the physical, the emotional and even the erotic, and gone no further, it seems futile to enquire into the exact nature of the intimacy between the characters. Like the rest of the novel, the ending leaves one contentedly wondering.
Profile Image for Roxanne.
103 reviews4 followers
June 23, 2019
Often people are intimidated by French writers. Maybe it’s the intellectual panache they all seem to have that makes us think they don’t feel as much. But Exposed by Jean-Philippe Blondel (author of a previous novel The 6:41 to Paris) is not only accessible, but also poignant look through the eyes of a middle aged divorced teacher who forms an intimate bond with a former student turned art sensation.

Blondel’s work reminds me a lot of Rachel Cusk, in its thoughtful magnification of the spaces that occur between our adult children and us, the inevitable ebbs and flows of marriage, and holidays spent alone. I especially appreciated his character’s scars from p.t.s.d. childhood trauma accrued from war of the roses type parents. The feeling of alienation he felt due to this behind closed door terror ripples into his adulthood making him long for elusive connection.

As the main character wrestles with the ethics of portrait posing for his former student, he recollects previous touchstones of past loves, pivotal moments in his personal history where decisions made affected his life deeply.

At a slim 157 pages, Exposed is a book you could easily read on a flight, making it both light (in size) but also weighty in thoughts and sentiment.
Profile Image for Alyssa.
Author 23 books90 followers
May 16, 2019
This book was a bit of a tough read for me. I found it hard to get into, and then hard to stay engaged. I usually quite like this author's books, but somehow, the characters just didn't do anything for me, didn't liven my imagination. It could be that it was just too much interior development, too much "navel gazing" for my taste. Certainly I can relate to middle to late-aged white men having some sort of existential crisis, but this time, it was difficult at best.

As the synopsis points out, this isn't erotica. Though I don't know why someone would think it is, aside from the mention of a character posing for a portrait in the nude. (the "NB" seems a bit prissy, IMO, a bit too judgmental about erotica. In fact, this book may have done better to have some proper erotica in it. There is definitely homoeroticism in it though, between the teacher and the artist.) I'll likely read other books by M. Blondel, but this one definitely won't get a re-read.
Profile Image for Abiyasha Abiyasha.
Author 3 books9 followers
March 8, 2020
This is one the most beautiful love stories ever written, as peculiar as it may sound.

Apart from being a novel about growing old, the memories of the youth, and reconnect with the past, the story stays true to the title. This novel reminded me of Stoner, which has kinda similar theme though with a different tone. If Stoner is a little bit depressing, Exposed is the opposite, hopeful.

This is my first book by Jean-Philippe Blondel and I'd really like to read more of his books. And kudos to the translator who had translated this novel so beautifully. Another book came to mind, at least the way the prose and the diction was used, Garth Greenweell's Cleanness and What Belong to You. Maybe my review is kinda biased because I read Cleanness few weeks before I delved into this book.

Such a great book and definitely one of my favorite books!
Profile Image for Jim Coughenour.
Author 4 books182 followers
May 4, 2020
Promising setup (see the description at the top) but this little book didn’t quite deliver. The tortured young artist seemed a mere foil to the ruminations of the middle-aged teacher — I won’t say more because there’s no point in spoiling the plot.

For those who enjoy, as I do, melancholy ruminations by middle-aged French men, I recommend The Waitress Was New and Guys Like Me by Dominique Fabre.
Profile Image for Nose-in-a-Book.
17 reviews
September 29, 2020
I simply loved that it was a story about two characters reconnecting under new and unusual circumstances. There is a lot of personal reflection dialogue in this book as well. The book paced and developed at the right speed. Enjoyable. Can't wait to read another Blondel book!
Profile Image for Caterina Pierre.
223 reviews2 followers
August 28, 2020
This is a short novel about how we are all a composite of our memories and the people with whom we made those memories. Louis is an almost-retired high school teacher who re-meets one of his students who has become an internationally recognized painter. The student, Alexandre, remembers him as a favorite teacher, and invites him to an Art opening where they reconnect. Both of them are sort of at a crossroads in their lives: Louis is divorced from his wife of twenty-plus years, on her account, and his daughters have grown up and started their own lives. So Louis is free and can do anything at any moment. Alexandre still embodies pain from his adolescence from the time when he was Louis’s student, and it seems that he wants to reconnect with his old teacher as a way to face those old wounds. They embark on a project wherein Alexandre will make a triptych of Louis, and during those painting/posing sessions, each of them reconsider their pasts and formulate their futures. I liked the novel very much and Louis is a wonderful protagonist. I took away a star because it’s not completely clear why Louis makes a significant decision at the end of the novel which disrupts the story. It almost seems that Blondel didn’t know where to take the story, so he throws a wrench into the motor to end it. But then again: isn’t life just a series of wrenches thrown into motors? In many ways, I think that was the point of the novel. We have to disrupt our normal sometimes, and live without regret.
Profile Image for fane.
123 reviews5 followers
December 22, 2021
just not my thing i guess. didn’t care about the story. too philosophical for me and the characters are forgettable. finished it and i don’t think i’ll pick it up again tho.
72 reviews
March 6, 2022
My first book by Blondel, and it will not be my last! A short but interesting book about life, relationships, and aging. The main character reminds me much of myself, he is older and facing the choices he has made, both in his personal and professional life. He is in the midst of a meet-up with a one-time student of his, who is now a successful artist, and who also faces his own life-challenges and choices, even though still young. The book is well written and very true to life, showing that not all of your life choices are made by you, but thrust upon you.
Profile Image for AJ.
531 reviews26 followers
June 1, 2019
‘The implacable blue of the sky. The tender green of the leaves. The golden yellow of sunlight. All the nuances. All the alternations – blue, yellow, green, green, yellow, blue. One day I’ll learn the names of colours, because once you master the colours, then you can chase the black away.’

A short, meditative kind of novel; the kind of thing where very little happens, where certain small actions or objects trigger memories and musings. This is not for the car-chasing, thrill a minute reader. What it is, for those who delve into it, is an excellent study of late middle-age disquietude and a complex, evolving friendship between the two main characters.

As Louis Claret approaches his late fifties, this English teacher attends a retrospective art exhibition by Alexandre Laudin, one of his former pupils. They re-connect after a number of years, and Laudin asks the older man if he would pose for him as a model. Over the course of several months the novel slowly unfolds, as Laudin paints first one, then another of what he proposes as a triptych. Interspersed with these moments are Claret’s entries into his newly-started journal, in which he looks back on his failed marriage, his two grown-up daughters, and memories from his earlier life and his travels around Europe. Laudin is a gay man, and there is a subtle undercurrent, perhaps not of sexual tension between the two, but certainly something – which at times seems to both unsettle and excite Claret. As the novel approaches its conclusion there is another journey, which brings Claret full circle to one of his earlier memories in Scotland, and feels something like a small moment of resolution for both men.

The prose is precise, poetic, and the reflections on art, memories and life are deeply affecting:
‘What’s left are sources of light. Memories drawing a path across the earth. Sometimes, one of these coils of memory becomes more luminous than the others. Almost phosphorescent. A glowworm in a graveyard of memories.’

This is a subtle, quiet novel, with an excellent translation of Blondel’s original French by Alison Anderson. Definitely a must for fans of novels that makes you simply enjoy and appreciate the writing as it flows, for those who want a novel of ideas, and for anyone who appreciates fine literature. A strongly recommended 4.5 stars from me.
Profile Image for Julie Stielstra.
Author 5 books20 followers
July 30, 2019
I read this in one sitting. Thank heaven for a writer who tells the story he wants to tell, in as many words as he feels is necessary, and a publisher who isn't afraid to publish it that way. I admire New Vessel Press for providing us Anglophones with this lovely piece of work.

Louis Claret is an aging schoolteacher, divorced, attached - if awkwardly - to his two adult daughters and ex-wife. An unexpected invitation to an art exhibit brings him back in touch with a student from decades ago, one he only vaguely remembers, who is now a rising star as a painter. The two men cautiously reconnect, as the painter asks to paint the older man's portrait - and a slow, hesitant intimacy develops. The painter's exploration of the teacher leads the teacher to rediscover aspects of himself he had avoided, suppressed or forgotten - both traumatic and joyous. The painter exposes himself as well, groping along a path toward a leap forward in his art, and revealing just how much the teacher had meant to him years ago.

A deeply poignant and thoughtful exploration of aging, memory, love, art, teaching, and connection.
5,536 reviews
April 30, 2019
Exposed is the second book I have read by Jean Philippe Blondel. I have found the writing to be quite different than what I am used to. Though it did take me a bit to get used to, it is quite refreshing and unique to go outside of my comfort zone.
Exposed tells the story of an old English teacher and one of his famous students, who has since become a famous artist. The former student asks the teacher to model for him for a series of some upcoming works. This begins the two reexamine their past, present and future. I enjoyed that part of the story where they both learn how to grow.

I give Exposed four and a half stars. I would recommend this quick read for readers who enjoy reading books involving art culture where they can too learn something about themselves.
Exposed is most definitely worth a read.
I received this book from the publisher. This review is 100% my own honest opinion.

8 reviews
October 31, 2019
This short novel had some vivid moments-- mostly in flashback-- and an occasional insight to reward this reader. I will read other Blondel novels, because there is something here to admire, and I have no desire to deprecate another person's art. (It's far easier to review novels than to write them.) But the malaise and anomie of these characters and their pointless lives in the present started to get to me. Will Louis spend New Year's in Vienna with his ex-student, or stay home to go to a party with his ex-wife? It was hard for me to care since it hardly seemed to matter to the characters themselves. It is a narrow provincial world in which genuine warmth, originality and altruism have all but ceased to exist. Even Alexandre's "art" is unoriginal and derivative. This novel was almost Michel Houellebecq "lite"-- similar fatigue and gloom, but none of Houellebecq's tear-off-the-blinders insights, bad-boy frissons of malice, or clairvoyance for what will happen in the world next.
Profile Image for Jami M..
489 reviews16 followers
July 16, 2019
For whatever reason, I absolutely love books translated from French into English. There is a wonderful quality in how the words form into sentences that fill the brain and the mouth, and on the page become atmospheric worlds of intimacy with living, breathing narratives.

I truly enjoyed this book. It is probably my favorite book of 2019. I am always so taken with short pieces of fiction that work so much harder than sprawling 400 page doorstops. This slim novel captures the essence of middle aged life in a quiet but celebratory way. It was such a pleasure to read this thoughtful, intelligent story. I will most definitely read the author’s other work- and, undoubtedly, will reread Exposed again before returning it to the library.
Profile Image for brettlikesbooks.
1,186 reviews
May 28, 2019
many thanks to @new_vessel_press for gifting me the tiny powerhouse:
EXPOSED by jean-philippe blondel (fiction) when a teacher comes across his former student-turned-artist, the encounter leaves them both feeling exposed + stripped-bare emotions and revelations + eloquent & evocative
“‘This is very intimate, don’t you think?’
‘That is probably what is most troubling. This closeness. This detailed observation. Being stared at. Dissected. More than what will end up in the painting itself... that way I’ll get to know you, bit by bit.’
‘Expose me, you mean, Alexandre.’”
you can add this one to your collection on june 4!
instagram book reviews @brettlikesbooks
Profile Image for Harvee.
1,221 reviews39 followers
June 4, 2019
A book about artists, obsession, and a willingness to go to extreme lengths for the sake of art. The novel, nevertheless, is written with restraint and leaves a lot for the reader to intuit. An intriguing book that I enjoyed for its unusual style.

My full review: https://bookdilettante.blogspot.com/2...

I received a copy of the title from the publisher for purpose of an honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Profile Image for Mexscrabbler.
246 reviews5 followers
January 2, 2020
A curious novel dealing with a reclusive French male teacher who is sought after by a male pupil he once taught, who has since become a famous artist. The pupil has a crush on the teacher and convinces him to pose for him for a series of intimate portraits. The teacher agrees, and the book deals with the relationship between them.

An interesting read, particularly regarding the nature of the relationship.
Profile Image for Roberta.
97 reviews
July 28, 2019
Really enjoyed this small translated book about a teacher in France who is nearing retirement. Meeting up with a former student, an artist, sends him on a path to discover who he really is. A well written, thought provoking story that makes the reader stand back and look at their life through new eyes. Excellent translation
Profile Image for Ivoree Malcom.
175 reviews1 follower
September 10, 2020
With plenty of twists, turns & flashbacks, this book fails to meaningfully connect the characters. Louis is just a grumpy old man, that the reader can't figure out what would make him happy. & as soon as he seems to be moving towards a positive bond with a former pupil, he bolts with no real explanation.
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