French Exit: A Novel (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

"This one is a ride. You either take it or you don’t. French Exit appears to be a grim, selfish story about a family of three. The third is a cat named Little Frank who Frances, doyenne mother of Malcom Price believes holds the spirit of the now dead husband and father, thus Little Frank. The man was a litigator of vicious reputation. The son is grown, at least in body. Somehow his widow managed to spend all the money he made. Now facing poverty they ee to Paris. There lives the one true friend of Frances who lets them stay at her lovely apartment. Patrick De Witt has a hilariously dark sense of humor that follows the bizarre attempts of Frances to burn the fortune to the last sou. Only a fine author can bring such seemingly nasty people into a sympathetic if infuriating place through this short twisted tale. I took the ride and am glad that I did."--Reviewed by Dora


— From Dora Recommends


A Most Anticipated Book of the Season from
Vanity Fair * Entertainment Weekly * Vulture * The Millions * Publishers Weekly

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, and a doctor who makes house calls with his wine merchant in tow, to name a few.  

Brimming with pathos, French Exit is a one-of-a-kind 'tragedy of manners,' a send-up of high society, as well as a moving mother/son caper which only Patrick deWitt could conceive and execute. 

About the Author

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. Born in British Columbia, he has also lived in California and Washington, and now resides in Portland, Oregon.

Praise For…

“The first time I read French Exit, I raced through, impatient to know the fates of its characters. Then I turned back to page one to enjoy Patrick deWitt’s understated satire and casually brutal wit.”
— Nell Zink, author of Mislaid and Nicotine

“‘My favorite book of his yet. The dialogue is dizzyingly good, the world so weird and fresh. A triumph from a writer truly in the zone.”
— Maria Semple, author of Where’d You Go, Bernadette and Today Will Be Different

“Sharply observed moments give deWitt’s well-written novel more depth than the usual comedy of manners—a depth reinforced by the exit that closes the tale, sharp object and all. Reminiscent at points of The Ginger Man but in the end a bright, original yarn with a surprising twist.”
— Kirkus Reviews

“Darkly comic, perfectly brilliant...Let deWitt take you along on this dizzying, wild ride, you’ll love every second of it, and then hop back to the beginning for another go. It’s worth the trip.”
— Nylon Magazine

French Exit made me so happy—I feel as if I have downed a third martini, stayed up past sunrise, and still woken up refreshed. Brilliant, addictive, funny and wise, DeWitt’s latest has enough charm to last you long after you’ve put it down.”
— Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Less
Product Details
ISBN: 9780062846921
ISBN-10: 0062846922
Publisher: Ecco
Publication Date: August 28th, 2018
Pages: 256
Language: English