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French Exit




Some books inspire me to write more. French Exit is one of them. Patrick deWitt also wrote Sisters Brothers (made into a feature film starring Joaquin Phoenix). This novel has been described as a ‘tragedy of manners’. The characters are social outcasts; one, a tart widow, and possessive mother; the other, her grown-up son, mired in a permanent state of arrested development.

Here’s a passage:

Susan thought of Malcolm as an exotic pet, a stopgap antidote to postcollege doldrums, but then something terrible happened, which was that she fell in love with him. It was like an illness coming on; it loitered on the edges of her consciousness, then pounced, gripping her mind and heart.


Frances had had enough. She pulled a bottle of perfume from her bag and began spritzing the bouquet of flowers in the center of the table.  The waiter looked on from the sidewalk, wondering what she was playing at. Malcolm knew, and he studied his mother admiringly as she removed her lighter from her coat pocket: click! She held the flame to the bouquet and it went up in a ball.

He writes with a droll wit, and some passages will make you laugh at loud. I know I will be reading this one again and again, as I did with Sisters Brothers.

There is a psychic space that this book exists in that is in the same arena as the show Arrested Development, which showcased similarly eccentric and dysfunctional characters.

Seek this short novel out – highly recommended.




I am a Sansei, with two teens, and a hamster. This blog is a repository for ideas and observations, expressed in cartoon form, by and large. A bit of a journal too. Feel free to follow me on INSTAGRAM @ WILTOONS, (the Twitter for people who like to go out) where I post a journal comic. Thanks for dropping by! The pic is of me and my boy Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits. (not really a fan but he wanted his pic with me) © Wilton Sugiyama and Wiltoons, 2009 to 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Wilton Sugiyama and Wiltoons with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. So there.