"Christine Arnothy is an artist in fiction... one of the most interesting young writers in Europe", Orville Prescott wrote in The New York Times. The author of I Am Fifteen – And I Don't Want To Die emerged as a novelist of extraordinary talent with her second book, God is Late. Now, in The Charlatan, Miss Arnothy delves even deeper and more skillfully beneath the surface of human relationships in this perspective story of a loveless marriage.
Deprived of everything but the outward appearance of a normal, well-to-do household, Max Grosjean dragged out a humiliating existence with his neurotic wife Isabelle only because of his love for their daughter Corinne. Isabelle's hypochondria demanded the constant, cringing attention of her family, yet they could not begin to answer her insatiable need.
When young "Doctor" Constantin started his malpractice of "curing" middle-aged women with his "magic" hands and the rays from his electric heater, Isabelle became the answer to his dreams – his first rich patient. As Constantin's power over Isabelle grew, Corinne became increasingly revolted by her mother's unsavory liaison with the doctor and his daily presence in the Grosjean home. Bitter at her father's apparent weakness in dealing with the affair, Corinne rebelled and became completely estranged from both Max and Isabelle. How Max is released from his intolerable situation, and how Corinne finds a new understanding and approach of life forms the deeply moving climax of this compelling novel.
© E.P. Dutton & Co. et Christine Arnothy
The New York Times, 2 septembre 1959 "Christine Arnothy, author of The Charlatan, is Hungarian. Her second book, God is Late, was a brilliant novel about corruption and terror under communism in Hungary. The Charlatan has nothing to do with communism, but in its grimly clever way it is almost as good as God is Late. (…) In The Charlatan Christine Arnothy has written a harsh, cold and shiny novel about spiritual desolation in the lives of people incapable of love. With firm control of her characters, her story and her prose, with complete technical mastery of her distasteful subject. Miss Arnothy has exposed the inmost secrets of her people and has done so largely by letting them talk at length in a series of short and dramatic scenes. (…) It is further proof of Christine Arnothy's virtuosity in fiction."
Cedar rapids Gazette, 6 septembre 1959 "Translated from the French, The Charlatan offers escape in an interesting story about a gullible French woman and a medical impostor. (…) Christine Arnothy's yarn is morbid but it's good psychological entertainment."
San Fernando Sun, 10 septembre 1959 "If you enjoy European settings and like to read about human beings trapped by their own lusts, then you will be intrigued by The Charlatan, a new novel by Christine Arnothy, published by E. P. Dutton, New York. (…) The colorfulness of France, the nature of the people, the complexities of the rich and the poor are resolved in an understandable and satisfying climax."
The Critic, octobre-novembre 1959 "The Charlatan has been excellently translated by Antonia White and makes fast-paced, interesting reading, not without a touch of humor. Characterizations in general are extremely well done, though Isabelle is a portrait of such unrelieved selfishness and spite as to verge upon caricature. Minor characters, such as the spinster aunt, the shabby country priest and the strong-minded servants, are in the tradition of Mauriac."
Herald Tribune Book Review, 1er novembre 1959 "Christine Arnothy is expert in detecting and dissecting rotten spots in human nature. She has a capacity for observing details which, even when unsavory, have a certain fascination, and a youthful forthrightness in rejecting what she condemns."
Democrat Herald, Albany, Oregon "Christine Arnothy is a young but not a child-wonder French writer who has an extraordinary talent for irregular family lives, demonstrates it in The Charlatan, published this week."
© Christine Arnothy