Customer Review

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking, dynamic fiction rammed with topical themes - could it be even better than The Penalty?, 12 Sept. 2009
This review is from: Exposure (Paperback)
Mal Peet's third novel featuring football reporter Paul Faustino tells the story of Otello, a black South American striker who shoots to stardom and marries a white pop singer, only to plummet dramatically from grace. It's a very different novel from The Keeper and The Penalty, swapping their magical, hallucinatory atmosphere for something much sparser and hard-hitting, crafted in prose so direct it's often shocking. Exploring themes of race, reputation, celebrity, envy, loyalty and duplicity, Exposure deftly weaves elements from Shakespeare's Othello into an extended reflection on the celebrity culture which surrounds sporting heroes such as David Beckham. Toss in an impertinent, ravenous media, corrupt political interests and the enormous wealth gap which divides rich and poor in South America, and you get an incendiary, dynamic morality tale about the state of the world today, seen through the eyes of all the 'cast', not only Paul Faustino. There are plenty of powerful plot elements to drive the story along, but as with all of Mal Peet's books, it's the storytelling that makes this book so unforgettable. Sculpting language with the most exquisite and visual precision in a way that reminds me of the art of Old Dutch Masters, and which uses real language to make genuine demands upon the reader, he nails Otello's harsh world of money and fame in writing that is taut, elegant, concise and often unutterably poignant. Both glorious and painful to read, this is a brave book which hammers its story home - a triumph of skill and endurance.
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