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3.74  ·  Rating details ·  202 ratings  ·  46 reviews
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 p ...more
Paperback, 158 pages
Published June 4th 2019 by New Vessel Press
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Average rating 3.74  · 
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 ·  202 ratings  ·  46 reviews

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Adam Dalva
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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, b ...more
Katia N
Mar 21, 2020 rated it liked it
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 s
Sep 10, 2020 rated it liked it
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
Jul 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
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 t
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
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
Oct 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 in
Jul 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Kristine Hall
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 no
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 aga ...more
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 tha
Abiyasha Abiyasha
Mar 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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 t
Jim Coughenour
May 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: french
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.
Mar 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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! ...more
Caterina Pierre
Aug 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
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, an ...more
Jan 08, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: novella, france
I'm sad that trees died for this book. ...more
Jun 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
‘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. Wha
Julie Stielstra
Jul 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 h
Apr 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
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,
May 16, 2019 rated it liked it
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, thi
William P.
Oct 31, 2019 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Jami Murphy
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 age
May 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: brettlikesbooks
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 wa
May 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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:

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.
Jan 01, 2020 rated it liked it
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.
Jul 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
Ivoree Malcom
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
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. ...more
Ed Hashek
The book had a number of flashbacks that I think were to be predictors of the present situation. It was difficult to "get into" either of the two main characters - are to act their actions. I was expecting another chapter to resolve their directions. ...more
Simple premise. Thoughtful. Well executed. Unadorned examination of late middle age. Increasingly, I’m reading new foreign novels (and watching new foreign movies). Works nicely with my current writing project, which is non-fiction.
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Quick read with enjoyable characters, but I found the diary entries to be distracting and interrupting to the flow of the story. It was a little to stream of consciousness for my liking and I'm still struggling to figure out the point of the novel, but it was an enjoyable read all the same. ...more
VERDICT: Powerful and lyrical portrait of a man revisiting his life. Must read literary fiction.

my full review is here:
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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 wr

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