The art world

Portrait of a domestic tyrant: The Exhibitionist, by Charlotte Mendelson, reviewed

If vivid, drily hilarious tales about messy families stuffed with passive aggression and seething resentment are your thing, you will gleefully hoover up Charlotte Mendelson’s riotous, prize-winning novels. These buzzing sagas dissect dysfunctional relationships with spiky wit and remarkable acuity. The Exhibitionist is as good as any of her previous books. Ray Hanrahan is a failed artist who once glimpsed mild critical approbation before lapsing into obscurity. He’s also a comically monstrous anti-hero: narcissistic, abusive, controlling, dishonest and a hypochondriac. He has quashed his talented sculptor wife Lucia’s career with guilt- tripping and spurious claims of plagiarism. She is so cowed by his bullying that she jumps to his every