French Exit

French Exit

A Tragedy of Manners

Book - 2018
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"From bestselling author Patrick deWitt, a brilliant and darkly comic novel about a wealthy widow and her adult son who flee New York for Paris in the wake of scandal and financial disintegration. Frances Price - tart widow, possessive mother, and Upper East Side force of nature - is in dire straits, beset by scandal and impending bankruptcy. Her adult son Malcolm is no help, mired in a permanent state of arrested development. And then there's the Price's aging cat, Small Frank, who Frances believes houses the spirit of her late husband, an infamously immoral litigator and world-class cad whose gruesome tabloid death rendered Frances and Malcolm social outcasts. Putting penury and pariahdom behind them, the family decides to cut their losses and head for the exit. One ocean voyage later, the curious trio land in their beloved Paris, the City of Light serving as a backdrop not for love or romance, but self destruction and economical ruin - to riotous effect. A number of singular characters serve to round out the cast: a bashful private investigator, an aimless psychic proposing a seance, a doctor who makes house calls with his wine merchant in tow, and the inimitable Mme. Reynard, aggressive houseguest and dementedly friendly American expat. Brimming with pathos and wit, French Exit is a one-of-a-kind 'tragedy of manners,' a riotous send-up of high society, as well as a moving mother/son caper which only Patrick deWitt could conceive and execute"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York, NY : Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2018]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780062846921
Branch Call Number: deWitt, P
Characteristics: 244 pages ; 22 cm


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Dec 05, 2019

French Exit came on me as a sudden surprise. The Universe DeWitt created is somewhat very weird but still attracts attention. During some research I found out that French exit means: Ghosting - aka the Irish goodbye, the French exit, and any number of other vaguely ethnophobic terms - refers to leaving a social gathering without saying your farewells. One moment you're at the bar, or the house party, or the Sunday morning wedding brunch. As the cover suggests, French Exit is about a mom Frances Price and her son Malcolm Price. Frank Price, the father of the family died 20 years ago being one of the most famous and paid lawyers in USA. The Prices' money is finishing and from the 1st of January all their properties and cash will be gone. When asked the question on why the money ended so quickly, 65-year-old Frances replies "My plan was to die before the money ran out". So the family decides to cut their losses and head for Paris. They take their cat Little Frank with them. They are a very interesting and curious trio. Later in the book we find out why they are so weird - it is all because of lack of love, the trauma caused by it. 15-year-old Frances thanked Jesus when she came to the church to the funeral of her mother. All his childhood, Malcolm was neglected by his parents and left for school and tutors. The situation with Malcolm causes his relationship with his devoted fiancee Susan almost impossible. On the ship he meets a girl Madeleine and has a relationship with her. When Malcolm and Frances arrive to Paris, their cat Little Frank runs away and Frances suddenly becomes obsessed with an idea that Little Frank was in fact Frank the dead husband. Also, she thinks the only way to talk to Frank is through Madeleine. Eventually, we can see she is right. This book is ironic comedy. I found it weird in a good sense. 4/5 Stars. @readermariacom of the Hamilton Public Library Teen Review Board

Nov 24, 2019

Such good writing and wit on offer in this fun and quick read. Made me cry at the end and I'm still thinking of the characters. Bravo!

Oct 30, 2019

Canadian-born, Portland-based author Patrick DeWitt writes the best 2.5 star books of anyone around. I often like the premise and genre hopping of his books ("Sisters Brothers" was an offbeat Western, "Undermajordomo Minor" a kind of dark fairy tale), but something about them is always unsatisfying or incomplete. Such are my feelings about his most recent novel, "French Exit," which is about a wealthy, rather nasty New York widow (She reminds me of Malory Archer) and her passive lump of a son, who upon learning that they are broke, move to a friend's apartment in Paris. DeWitt populates the novel with more quirky and eccentric characters than a Wes Anderson film, including a medium that they meet on the ocean voyage over, an impotent boat captain, the son's long-suffering on and off girlfriend, and, if that weren't enough, a cat that may be possessed by the woman's late husband. If it feels labored and schematic, well, it is. It is only the brittle and tart dialogue, reminiscent of Coward, Amis, and Waugh, that succeeds, although it also feels as if it were written with one eye on the inevitable adaptation (I'd cast Julianne Moore as the mother). I didn't mind that I didn't like the characters, but that I was bored by them. While less funny, the Patrick Melrose novels cover similar ground in a much more robust and caustic manner.

Oct 14, 2019

Mildly amusing, but really, what was the point?

_McGeek_ Aug 30, 2019

Really enjoyed this one. Loved the characters (especially Frances), they all made me laugh, it came together nicely and I found it even surprised me a bit. What more could you want? It's short ands sweet like DeWitt's other books, and is now contending as my favorite alongside Sisters Brothers (although they're not really comparable and he only has 3 books haha).

Jul 30, 2019

Cute, funny read! Highly enjoyable book taking place (reluctantly) in Paris.

liljables Jul 23, 2019

This is exactly my definition of a summer read - quick and easy, with characters that I loved to hate. French Exit was darkly absurd, and I laughed out loud quite a few times. I could see Wes Anderson adapting this book into a film.

Jul 01, 2019

The story starts out well enough, even though the two principal characters are unlikable, even despicable. However, after the move to Paris is becomes bizarre with conversations between a "psychic" and a cat that supposedly is the incarnation of the main character's late husband. The book doesn't "end", it just peters out. It beats me why it won so many awards.

May 27, 2019

Patrick deWitt’s writing is always quirky and fun. I enjoy his work for the interesting turns of phrase he employs. However, in this one the characters are so self obsessed and annoying that it is difficult to stick with them through a very convoluted middle section. It may be impossible to repeat the brilliance of The Sisters Brothers, but I’ll stick with him in hope.

Apr 19, 2019

Such a quirky book full of dysfunctional people who, nevertheless, stick together for different reasons. It becomes somewhat tedious towards the end but then I don’t usually indulge into other people’s problems so I didn’t.

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Apr 12, 2019

Page 188-You get older and you don’t even want love. Not the love we believed in when we were young. Who has the energy for that? I mean, when I think of the way we used to carry on about and women throw themselves out of windows. What you want is to know someone’s there ; you also want them to leave you alone. I’ve got that with Don. But I was shocked because I suddenly understood that the heart takes care of itself. We allow ourselves contentment; our heart brings us ease in its good time.

Page 190-“yes, my life is riddled with clichés, but do you know what a cliché is? It’s a story so fine and thrilling that it’s grown old in its hopeful retellIng. People tell it but not so many live it”


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