Exposure by Talitha Stevenson - review by Sam Leith

Sam Leith

The Thump in the Loins

Exposure

By

Virago 448pp £14.99
 

Talitha Stevenson's second novel occupies a peculiar territory, somewhere between Joanna Trollope’s books and Ian McEwan’s Enduring Love. It tells two parallel stories of father and son. Alistair Langford is a barrister in his early sixties, recovering from an unpleasant accident. Leaving a friend's house after dinner, he was set upon by two men who broke his knee with a baseball bat. We at first assume them to have been, say, vengeful associates of a criminal he helped send down or failed to exonerate. If only.

It emerges – and emerges, humiliatingly, in public – that the men are exacting sexual revenge: punishment for Alistair's one-night stand with a mobster's moll younger than his own daughter. It is the only act of infidelity Alistair has ever committed – an old man taken by vanity and dumb

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