I came back from vacation in March and went straight into self-isolation, with the added bonus of a COVID-19 swab test. Happily, I tested negative! Just like many of you, I have now been sitting at home, wondering what to do with myself everyday.
While I was away, I dove into a great novel by West Coast author Patrick deWitt called French Exit. It was short-listed for the 2018 Giller Prize, and is a great read.
First, a bit of history: a few years back, I read one of his previous novels, The Sisters Brothers, on recommendation from my bandmate Casey. Casey had actually written to deWitt about his love for that book, and to let the author know that if he ever was thinking of making The Sisters Brothers into a movie, our band would love to do the soundtrack. The book has since been adapted for the big screen, but we never got a response. Oh, well.
This latest deWitt effort is a stellar, brilliantly written novel about a wealthy New York widow, her live-in adult son and their cat. What follows is a quirky, cleverly sparse yet descriptive account of their travels via ocean liner to rough it in Paris with their meagre and dwindling funds. Begrudgingly, the mother and son allow a quirky cast of characters to help them and their cat as they journey to rectify their past mistakes and personal flaws.
If you’re in need of some quirky folks to hang out with right now, please do yourself a favour and read French Exit. Like me, you might find Patrick deWitt to be your new personal national treasure. — Mark Sasso