French Exit: Book summary and reviews of French Exit by Patrick deWitt

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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Book Summary

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Readers will be reminded of Peter Mayles' French-oriented fiction, which means that deWitt's delightful novel is made of high-grade chocolate." - Booklist

"DeWitt's novel is full of vibrant characters taking good-natured jabs at cultural tropes; readers will be delighted." - Publishers Weekly

"General fiction readers who enjoy the ironic and absurd will find this book amusing." - Library Journal

"Reminiscent at points of The Ginger Man but in the end a bright, original yarn with a surprising twist." - Kirkus

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Reader Reviews

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Vicki R. (York, PA)

Witty, smart and immensely enjoyable!
Patrick deWitt's new novel "French Exit" is a delightfully fun read. Like his previous books it has a full cast of quirky, unforgettable characters. Frances and her son Malcolm head to Paris after learning that they have squandered away their entire fortune. They bring along with them the family cat, Small Frank who they believe is Frances' late husband. Through riotously funny adventures they meet some very fascinating people that surround them in this time of upheaval. DeWitt's books are just such a pleasure to read although they may not be for the seriously minded!

Sue J. (Brookfield, WI)

Fun Read
French Exit is a story about a widow, her adult son and an aging cat. Facing financial ruin, they embark on an ocean voyage to Paris for a new beginning. The characters are quirky, but very likable. The mother and son are dependent and devoted to each other in a way that is humorous and unpredictable. French Exit was an enjoyable fun read, I highly recommend it!

Lorri

Perfectly strange
Read in prepub. Due out August 2018. deWitt takes characters that are so specific, so quirky that they seem a little too unreal and makes them come alive. The book is perfectly strange and funny, but also explores the meaning of family and friendship and the idiosyncrasies of romantic love (who can figure it out?). You've never met anyone like Frances and Malcolm and Little Frank, but once you've read the book you'll wonder how you ever got by without their acquaintance. Recommended for fans of Jonathan Ames, Maria Semple, Kevin Wilson. Would be a fun book group choice.

Betsy H. (LeRoy, NY)

Quirky Read
I was instantly sucked into the lives of Frances and Malcolm Price. They were both such eccentric characters, that even though I couldn't really relate to them, I was still intrigued by their stories. I also thought the book was quite funny. Their reactions to each other and situations just seemed so off-the-wall compared to the reality I know.

I think this could be a good book for discussion groups. To some degree it reminded me of The Nest (eccentric rich folks who drink a lot and have a complicated family dynamic).

Molly B, Hygiene, CO

Not sure what to think...
French Exit was entertaining, light, strange, funny, odd. I haven't read the Sisters Brothers, but I will, if only to help me determine what I think about DeWitt as an author. The dialogue in French Exit was funny, in the total frankness and lack of self-consciousness of the speakers. The characters seemed to have no guile. Extraordinary events, strange coincidences, very odd behavior - all were received by characters within the book, and presented to the reader, with not just a grain but a cellar full of salt. DeWitt presents a very different world in an entertaining way.

Alison F. (Clearwater, FL)

French Exit
Like Wes Anderson's Royal Tennenbaums, this novel is filled with quirky, privileged eccentrics that may have a layer of dust on their old shimmering life. Likeable and detestable at the same time, the story is compelling.

...18 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Patrick deWitt Author Biography

Photo: Danny Palmerlee

Patrick deWitt is the author of the critically acclaimed Ablutions: Notes for a Novel, as well as The Sisters Brothers, which was short-listed for the Booker Prize, and French Exit. Born in British Columbia, he has also lived in California and Washington, and now resides in Portland, Oregon.

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