French Exit: A Novel

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A Recommended Book of the Season from
Vanity Fair * Entertainment Weekly * Vulture * The Millions * Publishers Weekly * Esquire

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. 

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Additional Information

Publisher
HarperCollins
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Published on
Aug 28, 2018
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Pages
256
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ISBN
9780062846945
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Family Life / General
Fiction / Humorous / General
Fiction / Literary
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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From the author of Booker Prize finalist The Sisters Brothers: “Viciously hilarious . . . deWitt’s portrayal of the drinking life is staunchly unromantic.” —Time Out New York

In a famous, but declining, Hollywood bar works a barman, morbidly amused by the decadence of his surroundings. He quietly observes as the patrons fall into their nightly oblivion, taking notes for his novel. In the hopes of uncovering their secrets and motives, he establishes tentative friendships with a cast of variously pathological regulars.
 
But as his tenure at the bar continues, he begins to serve himself more often than his customers, and the time he spends outside the bar becomes more and more painful. He loses his wife, his way, himself. Trapped by habits and loneliness, the barman realizes he will not survive if he doesn’t break free. And so he hatches a terrible, necessary plan of escape and redemption.
 
“Sharp and bitter and funny” (Los Angeles Times), Ablutions steps behind the bar and goes below rock bottom for a brilliant new twist on the classic tale of addiction and its consequences “so punctuated with tiny, heartbreaking moments of grace—it becomes impossible to put the book down” (Portland Mercury).
 
“Dark and provocative . . . ‘Ablutions’ has achieved something remarkable.” —The New York Times Book Review
 
“Melancholic, sentimental, and very funny.” —Harper’s Bazaar (UK)
 
“As heartbreaking as it is hilarious . . . an utterly compelling novel.” —The Believer
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