French Exit

French Exit

Book - 2018
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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.
Publisher: [Toronto] :, House of Anansi Press Inc.,, 2018
ISBN: 9781487004835
Branch Call Number: FICTION DEW
Characteristics: 244 pages ; 21 cm
Alternative Title: Book Club Selection


From Library Staff

Follow the story of Frances Price and her irresolute adult son, Malcolm, as they flee Upper East Side New York City for a less expensive life in Paris, and meet the characters who gather around them in their new Paris life. Written with humour and wit, this novel nevertheless explores deeper topi... Read More »

List - Funny Reads
WVMLlibrarian May 16, 2015

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.

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Mar 11, 2020

I think I'm too young for this book. I feel it tries to tell me something important but I can't grasp its point at all. So far I can't figure out why this book has been written and published because the story line is of no interest to anyone except, perhaps, the author himself.

Feb 09, 2020

when a wealthy heiress goes through all of her money, she decides, with her adult son in tow, to make a last stand in Paris - quite funny at first, the tale disintegrates into mere nonsense by the end, leaving me, at least, wishing I hadn't even picked the book up

LPL_SarahM Jan 29, 2020

Widowed and broke, Frances and her son Malcolm head to Paris where they stay in a friend's apartment to escape their unraveling lives in NYC. This book was barely on my radar last year but I read it when all the other books I wanted to read were checked out. It was a pleasant surprise. Witty and dark.

Jan 04, 2020

I think this is a comic delight of a novel. I see the sadness in the ending. I have no doubt the author meant that point exactly as it was written. However I like the overall sentimentality that it has overall. The characters needed to learn certain lessons in order to move on with their lives. I think the overall arc of the story does a good job of showing the sentiment as supporting they are on their way to learning that which they need to learn in life.

If you find programs like "Arrested Development" amusing then you will enjoy this novel. It is billed as a black comedy but I found it a psychological tragedy. Malcom and Frances are the product of a few generations of neglected parenting. There is a mild hope that Malcom's relationship with Susan will be his salvation. The book is well written and clever but it is not funny.

Dec 05, 2019

Patrick DeWitts tragicomedy French Exit centers its tale around Frances Price and her son Malcom, who have recently found out they are broke and strive to leave New York to the confinement of a Paris apartment. The sudden death of Frances’s husband and Malcoms father, top litigator Franklin Price left the family with their awaited bankruptcy. While this book is lighthearted and funny in nature, it takes one wild unexpected turn that changes the course of this friendly book. The book holds a purpose to teach those about death and mourning, while also keeping it funny, and showing the importance of friendship, family, and life in general. The book howed me personally that life is too short and unpredictable to stay in one lane all the time. We change as people, the people around us change, and what we like changes. I think that this book taught me it's okay to leave things behind when you're unhappy, or simply change the scenery when you decide to. Your life is your own, and it's all what you make of it. Patrick DeWitts French Exit is one big story of meaning wrapped into a few 248 pages of dark comedy, and the loving, lighthearted courses of life. @readingmouse of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library

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).

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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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