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.
What if Othello and Desdemona were Posh and Becks? Peet reworks Shakespeare's play, sets it in South America, and tells his story in an uncompromising style that should appeal to all ages. Great, gripping stuff.
I'm not even a football fan, am a very difficult reader to please, but this book grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and took over a solid 48 hours when I had much better things to do, or so I thought. The story of Otello, $50million striker for a South American football team, and his beautiful wife, Desmerelda, is intertwined with the fortunes of a street kid named Bush, who's trying to stay alive in the pre-election "clean-up" of street children. The writing is uncompromising -- so strong and vivid that I can't help wondering why this book has been published only for teens. Seems a shame, when it's such a great read for grown-ups too.
I love Mal Peet's writing - subtle and satisfying. Here he continues the adventures of world weary south american sports writer Paul Faustino. The heady mix of love, aching poverty, fear, greed, racism, corruption and betrayal are all played out against a backdrop of modern celebrity laced with Shakespearean tragedy. Fantastic stuff suitable for everyone.
A really good read for football mad boys. My 10 year old is probably a bit young for some of the content (some bad language) but totally loved the story. Male Peet manages to engage the reader with his great knowledge of football. An inspiring writer for budding footballers.
The novel was recommended by a friend who knows my passion for 'Othello'. I was not disappointed. There some hidden gems in the prose to look out for as well as seeing how the story is adapted. Just what Shakespeare did to Cinthio's version after all . .
Mal Peet has written yet another understated football-centred gem - again featuring cynical South American sports journalist Paul Faustino, the story sees the rise and fall of a fictional celebrity couple; intertwining their tale with that of dispossessed street children and various reptilian agents and football barons. The book immediately engages, and Peet's main strength - his precise prose, accessible style, and fascinating characters - are all present and correct. A great read for teenagers and adults alike; this represents a writer truly at the top of his game.