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The Exhibitionist


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The fifth novel from Man Booker-longlisted and twice-longlisted Women's Prize author Charlotte Mendelson.

About the Author

Charlotte Mendelson's novel, Almost English, was longlisted for both the Man Booker and the Women's Prize for Fiction. Her other novels include When We Were Bad, which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction and was a book of the year in the Observer, Guardian, Sunday Times, New Statesman and Spectator; Daughters of Jerusalem, which won both the Somerset Maugham Award and the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize; and Love in Idleness. The Exhibitionist is her fifth novel.


In The Exhibitionist Mendelson brings a forensic eye to family dynamics, laying bare the agonies of rage, frustration and longing that lie just beneath the surface of domestic life. The result is a devastating treat of a novel: funny, furious, dark and delicious -- Sarah Waters, bestselling author of Fingersmith
It takes the most ferocious intelligence, skill, and a deep reservoir of sadness to write a novel as funny as this. I adored it -- Meg Mason, bestselling author of Sorrow & Bliss
A delicious, heartbreaking family snapshot about thwarted ambition, misplaced loyalty and good and bad love. Secrets abound. Fabulously written and utterly compelling -- Marian Keyes, bestselling author of Grown-Ups
Mendelson is a master at family drama, and plots don't get much more dramatic than this . . . Exhilarating * The Times *
Soul-scouringly good -- Nigella Lawson
Sex, desire, deep-seated marital resentment, monstrous artists, determined wives: it's a delicious, piquant comedy of manners, and Mendelson's serrated prose will have you wincing at every word * Daily Mail *
Like Katherine Heiny and Maria Semple, Mendelson is skilled at rendering the grotesque fascinating . . . It is also funny; so funny . . . Reading The Exhibitionist is like eating a rich, delicious and wildly elaborate cream cake. You know you'll regret devouring the whole thing at once, but it's very hard to stop * The i *
One of the funniest writers in Britain . . . [The Exhibitionist] is so devoid of secondhand sentences that it's quite possible [Mendelson] spent all nine years since its predecessor polishing her jokes and turning phrases round until they shine . . . A precision of observation that made me laugh frequently and smile when I wasn't laughing * The Guardian *
Electric . . . and has a hint of HBO's Succession . . . The Exhibitionist is both a roiling family drama and a chilling portrait of enmeshment, coercive control and enabled addiction -- Madeleine Feeney * The Sunday Telegraph *
Unutterably brilliant -- Lucy Worsley
A deliciously evocative novel laced with sex and art -- Financial Times
A magnificent book, witty and furious and not a word out of place. I am obsessed -- Elizabeth Macneal, bestselling author of The Doll Factory and Circus of Wonders
Exceptional * Woman & Home *
A compulsive distillation of artistic ego, midlife passion and family dysfunction . . . Hilarious, sexy and thoughtful * Mail on Sunday *
A devastating, blackly comic portrait of middle-class dysfunction . . . A fine and haunting book -- Sarah Moss * Guardian *
A truly wonderful novel, and a funny and wise one, too; the individual components sparkle, the whole movement beguiles -- Sunjeev Sahota, author of 2021 Man Booker-longlisted The China Room
I don't think I've ever read anything that is simultaneously so elegant and so propulsive - every single sentence Charlotte Mendelson writes is arrestingly powerful. I think this book is beautiful, but it's also funny, furious, sexy, blissfully hot and cold and wild in its rage -- Daisy Buchanan, author of Insatiable
The unhappy Hanrahans fall apart, their story playing out with devastating, exuberant glee . . . Honest and frenetically paced, this is a painfully funny look at art, ambition and damaging family dynamics * Sunday Express (S Magazine) *
Mendelson's great success is to make the endless sacrifices, self-conscious denials and forbidden emotions of the Hanrahans heartbreakingly relatable . . . The Exhibitionist is an undeniable success * Literary Review *
Sharp and sad, witty and hopeful, as with all Mendelson's work, The Exhibitionist is both forensically aware of all the flaws of humanity but also able to be forgiving and compassionate -- Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of Everyone Is Still Alive

A welcome return for the chronicler of family secrets, with a tale of art, ego and marriage

* Guardian *
The blackly amusing story of how [Lucia] finds her voice and rediscovers her sexuality in midlife is hilariously traced here by one of my favourite waspish writers -- Mariella Frostrup * Sunday Times *
A treat . . . Excoriating observation of the art world, crazy toxic family intrigues, wit, wisdom and brilliant writing -- Muriel Gray
Charlotte Mendelson has created a magnificently monstrous character . . . It's finely observed, witty and incredibly tense * The Times (Summer Reads Picks) *
Longlisted for the Women's Prize, this is a darkly funny portrait of a dysfunctional family bent out of shape over decades by its narcissistic artist patriarch -- and of what happens when his wife will no longer squahs her own creative energies. Wise, waspish and emotionally astute, it's addictive reading * Guardian (Summer Books) *
Read it for the characters (some you'll love, some you'll want to shake!), who I missed when I finished this funny family drama * Good Housekeeping (Best Summer Reads) *
A masterful observation of the privileged corners of the art world: power dynamics, narcissistic tendencies and ego-boosting exhibitions * The Big Issue *

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