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French Exit

by Patrick deWitt

French Exit by Patrick deWitt X
French Exit by Patrick deWitt
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  • Published in USA  Aug 2018
    304 pages
    Genre: Novels

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There are currently 24 member reviews
for French Exit
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  • Leslie R. (Lynchburg, VA)


    "Now came strangenesses."
    When I read this first sentence of Chapter 36, I laughed out loud. In an entire book of "strangenesses," it would be hard to conceive of any more. From the beginning, I imagined this book as a play, perhaps an off-Broadway farce. I could picture each character as an actor in costume. One quirky situation followed another as mother and son behaved in the most inexplicable ways. With short chapters and some witty dialogue, this book is an entertaining read. The reader just needs to abandon convention and go along for the ride.
  • Donna W. (Wauwatosa, WI)


    Comic Tale
    French Exit is a truly engaging book. The characters are unique, the story borders on crazy, and everything fits together in such a delightful way that the book is a great comic read. A quick easy read and lots of fun!
  • Shannon L. (Portland, OR)


    A Truly French Exit!
    A "french exit" is defined as rudely leaving without saying goodbye to your host..or slipping out with telling anyone. DeWitt's latest is definitely about slipping away! I don't even know if I liked this book...DeWitt game me characters I loved on one page and hated on the next. One minute I was laughing with them and the next minute I wanted to strangle them. I will admit that the character I cared the most about was an aging cat named "Small Frank." Sometimes he was the only reason I kept reading. As the novel progressed I began to care about our main character, Francis Price, but the verdict is still out about her son. Dewitt writes with such subtle humor, introducing us characters whose personalities are almost beyond our comprehension - the same ones we never know whether to love or hate. If you want a happy, upbeat story with an even happier ending, sit this one out. If you love DeWitt's writing style you will not be disappointed in the French Exit.
  • Vicki H. (Greenwood Village, CO)


    Surreal Fun
    If readers of DeWitt's The Sisters Brothers said it seemed like a Coen Brothers movie, his French Exit falls more into the Wes Anderson camp.  Our characters here are so unconventional, so outré, they deserve Anderson's kitsch.

    Here are two hard-to-like characters — all their choices are wrong, they are not being redeemed in any way by their changing circumstances — and yet I couldn't put the book down. Though their behavior is abominable, Frances and Malcolm are wildly entertaining. Was I wooed by the fresh and witty dialog? Was I frantic to learn how far off the road these two would drive? Or did I just want to see them get their comeuppance?  DeWitt simply had me in "the pull of a well-told story." 

    The ride got bumpy for me when the book reached Paris. Every reader is asked by an author to "carry" scenes and characters "up the hill" of a book. We gladly do it, hoping there's a payoff in the end for all the details we've dutifully ferried. I grew worried, two-thirds of the way through, that I was not going to get a satisfying "wrap up." Indeed, I didn't. But DeWitt was such a great storyteller that it made the hike worthwhile.  I was reminded a bit of Kingsley's Amis's Lucky Jim .... but mostly of Wes Anderson movies. Such is the surreality.
  • Laure R. (Fresno, CA)


    Witty Tragedy?
    Skillfully written, this book teeters between sharp comedy and full blown tragedy. An acidic widowed mother and developmentally arrested adult son are driven from their decadent lifestyle in New York's Upper East Side by self-inflicted scandal and potential bankruptcy.

    They flee to Paris by cruise ship…and take their aging cat along for the bumpy ride. Lest you think this was an act of kindness towards the cat, let me hasten to add the mother believes that her late husband's spirit inhabits the cat and she's afraid to desert it.

    The characters they encounter and bring into their imploding lives are also deeply flawed and fascinating. It ends in yet another tragedy, of course. I really wanted an epilogue with a ray of sunshine attached, but there is not one.

    All said, this book had my attention throughout. I give the author full marks for skill and imagination.
  • Joan P. (Owego, NY)


    French Exit
    All I could think as I read this was, what a whacky book! It's reminiscent of the 1930s black and white, high society movies. After more thought, I realized how clever De Witt was to bring all these interesting characters together to tell a crazy story about the desperation of people striving to keep up appearances and adapt to altered circumstances. Frances Price has been shunned by New York society because she neglected to report her husband's death and went skiing. She and her son are broke and move to a friend's apartment in Paris along with Little Frank, a cat that houses the spirit of her dead husband. After Little Frank's disappearance, new characters are introduced and old characters reappear. Relationships are explored leading to the final resolution to Frances's problems. I'd like to read more about these people. All in all a darkly funny book.
  • Dorinne D. (Wickenburg, AZ)


    So this is "dark comedy"?
    On the title page is the subtitle, "A Tragedy of Manners." I picked this book because I usually love any novel or other book about Paris and France. The characters in this story are unusual to say the least. While it's told with humor, there is an underlying tragedy in the stories of each character. They go on each day, coping with the circumstances of their existence. A weird tale ... I liked it but found it confounding... not sure even the Paris landscape redeemed it for me.

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