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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "The truth is nothing but the truth. But not the whole truth."
When Alistair Langford, a respected London barrister, is kneecapped one night after a dinner with friends, the perpetrators are quickly arrested. Questioned by the authorities, the they reveal a sordid dalliance, rending the careful fabric of Alistair's life, his blameless wife and family the beneficiaries of this shameful event. Soon after, Alistair's wife, Rosalind,...
Published on August 26, 2005 by Luan Gaines

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a good story
this was a very good, but not excellent, book. it fell short of excellent because i just couldn't love the characters. they were very well developed and they all became more "lovable" as the book went on, but i just never fell for them. and for me, at least one character that i love is necessary to love a book. however, having said that, i would still highly...
Published on September 13, 2005 by mary


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "The truth is nothing but the truth. But not the whole truth.", August 26, 2005
This review is from: Exposure (Hardcover)
When Alistair Langford, a respected London barrister, is kneecapped one night after a dinner with friends, the perpetrators are quickly arrested. Questioned by the authorities, the they reveal a sordid dalliance, rending the careful fabric of Alistair's life, his blameless wife and family the beneficiaries of this shameful event. Soon after, Alistair's wife, Rosalind, receives a call that that her husband's mother has died. This call is yet another shock to Rosalind, who was told that Alistair's parents died when he was young. Suddenly, the carefully woven past Langford has assembled falls away and he is forced to account for a history of deception, all in service of hiding a past defined by poverty and a mother's questionable lifestyle. Deeply embarrassed and ashamed, Alistair has come to the moment of truth; whether he can accept his own history and make amends to his wronged wife is another matter, as Langford is a proud and cautious man.

Alistair requests the help of his popular and successful son, Luke, unable to drive himself to Dover to make arrangements for his mother's effects. For his part, Luke, a self-styled clubber, partier and bon vivant, is floundering, recently released from an amorous relationship with a narcissistic actress, Arianne. Luke cannot break free of his obsession with Arianne, positive she will realize her mistake and return to him. Under her spell, Luke's vulnerability is painful to observe; he remains oblivious to Arianne's manipulations, a shadow of the man his friends know. While in Dover with his father, Luke befriends two refugees from Kosovo, Mila and Goran and it is through these characters that Stevenson artfully skewers the pretensions of the middle class, the "egocentric complacency Western money can buy". Goran eventually learns to detest Luke's simplistic self-indulgence, "he hated Luke for his pointless angst, which was the agony of privileged people".

Stevenson has a firm grasp of her characters, their flaws, fears and inability to ask for support from one another. In this acute novel, all are forced to confront their pretensions, insecurities and motivations, their perfectly orchestrated public facades. Alistair's existence is defined by lies, infidelity and denial, his family passively absorbing the price of their position, a profoundly casual acceptance of middle class values and aspirations, assuming they are superior, untouchable, until the collapse of their false security. Peeling away the distractions that shield each character, the author exposes the minutiae that fill every waking moment of the Langford`s. In the end, everyone is vulnerable to fate's intervention, distractions crumbling before fear and self-doubt, the lesson unmistakable, a class-conscious society unmasked. While it may be premature to credit Stevenson with the attributes of a Henry James, to her credit, this author can wield a scalpel, making precise incisions into English sensibilities. Luan Gaines/2005.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Elaborately developed characters, January 28, 2007
By 
Pierce Amory "Amory" (Wainscott, NY United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Exposure (Paperback)
The plot line of Exposure is aptly summarized elsewhere, so I will not re-summarize it here. Rather I will address some of its strengths and weaknesses, as I see them.
I was thoroughly engrossed by this book. The author involves you in each of the main characters - Alistair, Luke and Rosalind especially - and some of the lesser ones - Goran and Mila - by switching the (often stream-of-consciousness) narrative from one character to another (and back again) as the story progresses. The plot has enough major events to hold most readers' interest. The author engages the reader early on by alluding to the major tragic events in Alistair's and Luke's lives but withholding the details, as well as the underlying reasons for and causes of, these events until midway through the story. She devotes the rest of the book to the events' resolution (or not). It is noteworthy that this 28 year old female writer most successfully inhabits the psyches of two men - one her age and the old enough to be, ....her father - who carry the story line from beginning to end.
Ultimately this book is less about class differences than about the nature of love in all its manifestations - sexual, spousal, maternal, paternal, et. al. The author plays with this subject over and over again throughout the book and succeeds in making the reader care about her characters. Anyone who has lived through the break-up of a passionate liaison will identify with Luke's emotional highs and lows. Alistair provides a much more complex set of emotions that may be harder to grasp, but nonetheless are elaborately realized in this book. Late in the book there is a moment of emotional exposure and communication between father and son (Alistair and Luke) that, while emotionally restrained in the British manner, was deeply moving.
With apologies to the author, I found some of her meditations on the many facets of love a bit longish and sometimes a bit unconvincing or inconclusive. At times, I found myself skipping over some of the longer and more meandering dialogues. Perhaps this due in part to the youthfulness of the author, who cannot fully capture the perspective of a 63 year old lawyer, husband and father. Nonetheless, I recommend this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing! Tour de force! What a kaleidoscope of emotions, February 15, 2007
This review is from: Exposure (Hardcover)
Just finished this book. Wow! I need to take a breath. As cliche as it all sounds, a tour de force truly. A keen breath-taking observation of human frailty and strength, of the human condition in all. Screaming with emotion, these characters come ALIVE. Alistair, Rosalind, and Luke... Stevenson captures it beautifully--the beautiful and scary isolation of being a human being in this world, and those ties that bind these solitary entities to the family, that thing that is both their downfall and their salvation. Inherently an optimistic book, the plot centers around the emotional lives of these characters in a way that makes you feel as if you're watching a densely plotted movie even though all that's going on is a severe and gut wrenching process of human awakening. That rare gem of a book... Read it now! Your life will be the better for it.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a good story, September 13, 2005
By 
mary (somewhere in the swamps of jersey) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Exposure (Hardcover)
this was a very good, but not excellent, book. it fell short of excellent because i just couldn't love the characters. they were very well developed and they all became more "lovable" as the book went on, but i just never fell for them. and for me, at least one character that i love is necessary to love a book. however, having said that, i would still highly recommend this book as it is beautifully written and very engaging - i found it hard to put down. also, i found some if its central themes very appealing: love is forever; people can change; redemption is possible. i know these sound trite - but ms. stevenson handles them in unique and insightful ways. also, story itself, while not a reinvention of the wheel (many of the plot lines are familiar), is handled in a capable way.
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Exposure
Exposure by Talitha Stevenson (Paperback - January 8, 2007)
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