French Exit by Patrick deWitt

French Exit

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 disintegrationFrances 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...

Details French Exit

TitleFrench Exit
Release DateAug 28th, 2018
GenreFiction, Humor, Contemporary, Cultural, France, Literary Fiction

Reviews French Exit

  • Larry H
    Frances Price has never really given a damn about what people think. A wealthy widow, she looks down on nearly everyone with whom she comes into contact (except Joan, her best friend since childhood). She and her adult son, Malcolm, live in an aging apartment on the Upper East Side and spend money indiscriminately, despite multiple warnings of increasing intensity from their financial advisor.One day, Frances is told that she is on the verge of l...
  • Diane S ☔
    3.5 Original, inventive, absurdist, all of these descriptions and more would be fitting. Wasn't quite sure where, in my head, to put this book, let alone how to come up with a rating. Generally, I rate like grnres with like genres, but this one seems to have an identity of its own. What a strange tale with some very unique characters, and a very unusual cat. A satirical comedy of manneres and errors, if you will.Maybe I was just in the mood for t...
  • Esil
    I loved Patrick de Witt’s Undermajordomo Minor. It was completely quirky and weird, but seriously turned my crank. Unfortunately, while French Exit has a similar oddball sensibility, this one fell quite flat for me. The story focuses on mother Frances and adult son Malcolm. As the story opens in New York, Frances learns that all her money is lost, after which she and Malcolm move to a friend’s apartment in Paris, where a number of people drif...
  • Sam Quixote
    Sixtysomething Manhattan socialite Frances, her 32 year old son Malcolm and their cat, Small Frank, live a relaxed life – until the family fortune runs out. Suddenly homeless, they head to Paris, France, to stay in a wealthy friend’s apartment where destiny awaits… Oui - Patrick deWitt’s latest novel French Exit is tres bonne! It’s this pleasingly bizarre comedy about nutters that reads uncannily like a Wes Anderson movie by way of Arre...
  • Tucker
    Patrick deWitt has the remarkable ability to write brilliantly in different genres whether the fairy tale of “Undermajordomo Minor,” the western of “The Sisters Brothers,” or in his most recent book “French Exit,” a comedy of manners. The abundant wit, satire, and skewering of the wealthy made this an entertaining read, but the infusion of death throughout the book detracted from what I anticipated based on the book’s subtitle. I ap...
  • Andrew Smith
    I’d enjoyed The Sisters Brothers though not as much as many readers had. Perhaps this new offering from deWitt would charm we in a way that his Western novel had failed to? The story of a dysfunctional relationship between an unpleasant mother and her very odd son (not to mention the deceased father who may now be living within the body of the pet cat) is a very strange offering indeed. Wealthy widower Frances Price had gained notoriety – and...
  • Krista
    French exitNoun. French exit (offensive) A hasty exit made without saying farewells to anybody.I have been a fan of Patrick deWitt's from the beginning, and I believe I've read everything he's written; joyfully revelling in his ink-black, violent comedies. I was, therefore, rapturously delighted to have been sent an ARC – months early – of his latest, and so doubly disappointed when it turned out to be just okay. French Exit begins on a promi...
  • Matthew Quann
    Update 1-Oct-2018: Giller Prize Shortlisted!I've long been a fan of deWitt's writing and his latest novel, French Exit, feels like it could have been written by no one other than him, but also feels like a move in a different direction from The Sisters Brothers and Undermajordomo Minor . DeWitt has always been funny, but French Exit is a comedy first and foremost. I was definitely getting in a good belly-laugh every 10 pages or so, and its rar...
  • Peter Boyle
    Oh dear. I'd consider myself a big Patrick deWitt fan, having adored The Sisters Brothers and Undermajordomo Minor. But little of his famed wit and ingenuity is present in his latest novel. It has a cast of peculiar characters and a story that just goes nowhere.Frances Price is a wealthy 65-year-old New Yorker, a sharp-tongued widower who doesn't suffer fools gladly. Living with her in a luxurious apartment is her brooding son Malcolm ("a lugubri...
  • Amy
    Would you like to read a laugh-out-loud funny, lighthearted, smart, sassy, somewhat dark and weird and fantastical novel that will take you completely away from current events and make you feel like you're eating birthday cake all day long, only now birthday cake is somehow good for you?That's this novel.Also, I would like to read an essay about how THE SISTERS BROTHERS is a Coen brothers movie and this one is a Wes Anderson movie.
  • Neil
    French Exit is deWitt’s fourth novel and I have read them all. He is best known for his Booker nominated “The Sisters Brothers”, scheduled for release as a movie in September 2018 (I’m looking forward to that!). But Ablutions and Undermajordomo Minor also share the dark comedy that is a trademark of deWitt’s writing. This novel is billed as a “tragedy of manners”, which I assume is a reference to a “comedy of manners”. It is imp...
  • Anni
    French Exit (aka ‘ghosting’) is apparently a term meaning to leave a social situation without saying goodbye to the hosts - a particularly apt title for this novel with the New Yorker socialite protagonists decamping to Paris after being declared bankrupt.Although I am a big fan of black comedy, I found this rather a difficult one to engage with until I tuned into the author's wavelength. The dysfunctional mother and son relationship reminded...
  • Mattia Ravasi
    Video reviewBeautifully written, at times hilarious, riddled with supernatural mysteries and featuring one of the most unforgettable cats I've read in a long time, the book - much like the life of its protagonists - is a thing of beauty cursed by chronic pointlessness.Not a problem to me, but I fear the wrong reader may find this book insufferable. If you haven't read DeWitt's The Sisters Brothers, it makes little sense to choose this over that o...
  • Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
    Frances Price has always been a bit frightening.  Her name is well known around the Upper East Side for her beauty, snobbery, and especially for scandal.  Years ago when she found her sleazy lawyer husband dead from a heart attack, she left their home and went on a ski trip, not bothering to inform anyone of his death.This has left tongues wagging for twenty years but a new scandal is on the horizon:  she's almost broke.Frances packs up her ad...
  • Roman Clodia
    My first deWitt – and a read which is decidedly quirky. At first it seems nothing more that a piece of frothy entertainment as Frances Price, hapless son in tow, bitches her way through the world (on a hostess: ‘born to bore’, she dismisses; on a party guest: ‘Men’s teeth in a child’s mouth. I had to look away’.) But soon a more uneasy sense of something starts to seep through: Malcolm’s abandonment at school until his father dies...
  • Lillian
    How refreshing it is to read a story with no physical violence, murder, psychological torture or with the ubiquitous unreliable narrator.deWitt, like Willy Vlautin is a highly underrated author. His amazing novel, The Sisters Brothers has a loyal following but it is no where near the size it should be.The central characters of French Exit are Franklin, Francis and their son Malcolm. Franklin Price has made a fortune as a ruthless and ethically su...
  • Paul
    deWitt is a mordant genius. That's all.
  • SueKich
    The ‘heroine’ from hell.A New Leaf was a film made in 1971, a brilliant black comedy, starring Walter Matthau and Elaine May who also wrote the script. It told the story of a stupendously wealthy and obnoxious man who is one day informed that his money has run out. Patrick deWitt’s new novel, French Exit, offers up a similar proposition and it features the nastiest character I have ever come across in fiction. Stunningly beautiful Frances P...
  • Sid Nuncius
    I’m afraid I didn’t get on with French Exit at all. It seems to me to be a novel which thinks a great deal of itself but adds up to very little. Frances, a wealthy, viciously bitchy, snobbish New York widow (Really? Again?) completely dominates her overweight, ineffectual son Malcolm, and destroys any other relationship he may develop (Really? Again?). Her financial profligacy means that she is reduced to the abject penury of her last few hun...
  • Rebecca
    (3.25) If you’ve read The Sisters Brothers, you’ll recognize deWitt’s deadpan, black humor here. This story of a prickly mother and her hapless son is less violent but more caustic, and initially difficult to love because of the characters’ flippancy and the unrealistic dialogue. No one really talks like this, I kept thinking to myself. But Frances and Malcolm grew on me as they sail from New York City to Paris and settle into a friend’...
  • Kevin
    A wry adventure starring a sixty-five year-old woman and her grown son as they take a trip to Paris after their family money is drained from underneath them. There are touches of Wodehouse and Wes Anderson and Gray Gardens and deWitt's dialogue is sharp enough to match those comedy-of-manners touchstones. The spirit of the woman's dead husband takes control of the last part of the novel, which brings to the surface some needed angst and emotion t...
  • Barbette
    The first third of FRENCH EXIT is a quirky and acerbic portrayal of a Manhattan mother, her adult son, and their skewed family history. The comic timing and phrasing are flawless and stylish; I laughed out loud many times while reading, and then found myself laughing out loud again later in the day as I recalled certain passages. While deWitt's novel may bring to mind the writings of J.D. Salinger and the films of Wes Anderson, the New York secti...
  • Kate
    My thanks to for and Advance Reader's copy of French Exit in exchange for my honest review. A variation of this review will be on This was my first Patrick deWitt and I wanted to like it. It was not for me. Described as a "tragedy of manners", it follows the story of a society matron from NY as she has blown through her fortune and her emasculated, dull son. The characters were unlikeable, but more importantly, deWi...
  • Keith Rosson
    This dude is really just fearless when it comes to messing around with genre. This novel, about a beleaguered mother/son duo of socialites fleeing to Paris as a last-ditch resort to their impending bankruptcy, is at times hilarious, touching, daaaark as hell. deWitt writes so deftly that this seems like a fun and light read, even as serious subjects are being tackled. I dunno, I thought it was amazing, I zipped right through it, at times I laughe...
  • Chris Mara
    ** 2 quirky stars ** for this foolish, nonsensical, bizarre, absurd book. The dialogue between these mischievous characters often went on (and on) (and on) in a turnaround way, which reminded me of a twisty but confusing sort of comedy. As I neared the middle to end of the book, this type of dialogue was beginning to exhaust me. It was almost as if arguing with a small child; it made no sense and it’s purpose was to confuse you, yet you’d lau...
  • Jaclyn Crupi
    de Witt’s greatest skill is making his flights of fancy seem completely effortless. This is another Wes Anderson-esque read and is so droll and witty and clever. I do love the family in decline trope and de Witt uses it to great effect. Also, the cat kind of steals the show if you’re into that kind of thing.
  • Sterlingcindysu
    That was an odd book. Not in haha odd or screwball odd, just odd. Too much angst to be a comedy, but too light to be a drama. Not much of a story but great characters. I really liked the Sisters Brothers (and hope to see it in the cinema).
  • Michelle
    Oh my gosh this book was hilarious, pure joy from start to finish. Loved the dry wit and yes these characters are absolutely unlikeable but that's their charm. Such a fantastic antidote to the current state of affairs. The dialogue is on point.
  • SueLucie
    I rather liked the main character here, a woman blessed with beauty and a wit that turns acid as the years go by in a privileged life in Manhattan. Widowed and soon bankrupt, she relocates with her 30-ish son to Paris. Here it was that she was once happy, before a long marriage to the monstrous Frank took its toll on her spirit, and here she hopes again to enjoy the anonymity and lack of judgement the city gave her in her youth. I liked her bruta...
  • Karen W
    Super loved this! Like reading a Whit Stillman movie. Very funny and completely absorbing.