The Resource French exit : a tragedy of manners, Patrick deWitt

French exit : a tragedy of manners, Patrick deWitt

Label
French exit : a tragedy of manners
Title
French exit
Title remainder
a tragedy of manners
Statement of responsibility
Patrick deWitt
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Storyline
Tone
Writing style
Character
Award
Loan Stars Favourites, 2018.
Review
  • This smart, very nearly smart-alecky social comedy by the author of Undermajordomo Minor (2015) rewards casual fiction readers with a load of fun. Frances Price is a sixtysomething Upper East Side widow and socialite, with whom her 30-year-old single son still lives, and the cat in the household, Small Frank, also holds his own as a prominent character. All of a sudden, Frances’ money goes down the drain due to her excessive spending, an inevitable crisis that gives the plot its dramatic tension. A friend of Frances’ lends her the use of an apartment in Paris, and off to France on a steamship go Frances, her son, and Small Frank, to calculate what their next step in life should be. To put it succinctly, things don’t settle down and go smoothly, but then Frances’ philosophy has always been, “It’s fun to run from one brightly burning disaster to the next.” Readers will be reminded of Peter Mayles’ French-oriented fiction, which means that deWitt’s delightful novel is made of high-grade chocolate. -- Brad Hooper (Reviewed 7/1/2018) (Booklist, vol 114, number 21, p14)
  • In this entertaining novel (subtitled a “tragedy of manners”) that lampoons the one percent, deWitt (The Sisters Brothers) follows the financial misfortune of wealthy widow Frances Price, a magnetic and caustic 60-something New Yorker who has spent most of the fortune her late lawyer husband amassed defending the indefensible. Insolvency comes as a shock to Frances despite repeated warnings her financial adviser about her extravagant lifestyle. She reluctantly accepts an offer to occupy a friend’s Parisian flat and sets sail with her rakish, lovesick son, Malcolm; her house cat, Small Frank; and her last €170,000. On board, she concocts a secret plan to spend every penny, while Malcolm befriends a medium who can see the dying (they’re green). In Paris, the book finds its surest footing, as Small Frank flees and a lonely neighbor connects Frances to a doctor, his wine merchant, and a private eye, who locates the medium to contact the cat, who may hold some secrets. The love of Malcolm’s life and her dim-witted fiancé also arrive, as does the owner of the now extremely crowded flat. DeWitt’s novel is full of vibrant characters taking good-natured jabs at cultural tropes; readers will be delighted. (Aug.) --Staff (Reviewed 06/04/2018) (Publishers Weekly, vol 265, issue 23, p)
  • Frances Price, wealthy widow of high-rolling lawyer Franklin Price, has made it her mission to spend every dime of her inheritance. As the story opens, she has very nearly accomplished this goal. She and son Malcolm find themselves forced to sell everything of value left to them. With their cat, Small Frank, they take up residence in a friend's apartment in Paris. They collect a variety of roommates, including the owner of the apartment, a lonely expat, a wine merchant, a private detective, a clairvoyant, and Malcolm's fiancée. When Small Frank goes missing, Frances calls on the clairvoyant to contact him. At the story's dark and emotionally complex end, they all get what they want—more or less. Acclaimed author deWitt (The Sisters Brothers) crafts a story that entertains to the last page. His characters are quirky caricatures, warped by their social position and wealth by their nurturing (or lack thereof) and mostly bereft of any practicality. The result is both comical and sad. In the long view, the moral seems to be that money can't buy love, so you might as well spend the cash. VERDICT General fiction readers who enjoy the ironic and absurd will find this book amusing. [See Prepub Alert, 2/12/18.] --Joanna Burkhardt (Reviewed 04/15/2018) (Library Journal, vol 143, issue 7, p59)
  • "They're not normal people": an entertaining romp among the disaffected bourgeoisie. Early in the pages of deWitt's (Undermajordomo Minor, 2015, etc.) latest, the shiftless son of Frances Price—a meaningful name, that—wanders into the family's Manhattan kitchen to find his mother wielding a "long, gleaming knife." Having never seen her cook, Malcolm is puzzled. No, she's not cooking, says Maman: "I only like the sound it makes." Frances and Malcolm are sensual creatures, she a "moneyed, striking woman of sixty-five years," he "broody and unkempt." Now, suddenly broke, Frances decides to sell what she can and bolt to Paris, Malcolm in tow. Frances is a whirlwind, not a person to observe the rules: When the real estate agent says his fee will be 30 percent, nonnegotiable, she negotiates: "If you name another figure that is not fifteen percent, I will go to fourteen percent...and on down the line until your payment, and your sole function in regard to my own life, disappears altogether." Their fate in Paris and en route is to meet unlikely people, like one Boris Maurus, whose moniker prompts Malcolm to remark, with unusual insight, "We both have horror movie names," and the footloose Mme Reynard, who disappoints Frances by being rather affable and unstylish rather than offering a foil for "a night of implied insults and needling insinuations." Sometimes it seems like the most grown-up character in the novel is the cat, Small Frank, and in any event Paris is not always a picnic, as when Malcolm and Frances observe a knot of cops beating up a demonstration of étrangers: "They moved through the pack knocking down the immigrants one after the other; a tap on the skull and on to the next." Such 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, June 15, 2018)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10685154
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1975-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
deWitt, Patrick
Index
no index present
LC call number
PS3604.E923
LC item number
F74 2018
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Mother and adult son
  • Widows
  • Scandals
  • Rich people
  • Bankruptcy
  • Moving, Household
  • Cats
  • Apartment house life
  • Men/women relations
  • Paris, France
  • New York City
Label
French exit : a tragedy of manners, Patrick deWitt
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
244 pages
Isbn
9780062846921
Isbn Type
: HRD
Lccn
2017053127
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Label
French exit : a tragedy of manners, Patrick deWitt
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
244 pages
Isbn
9780062846921
Isbn Type
: HRD
Lccn
2017053127
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n

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