Reading The Topeka School, my third novel by Ben Lerner. Highly anticipated, this has been. Finished: French Exit by Patrick deWitt. Rating: 3/5. • Just the antidote I needed. A charming story, fabulous characters, tight lovely writing. Patrick deWitt’s fictions are an aesthetic treat, to be enjoyed at the sentence level. Many writers feel a social and moral responsibility, which is great, but it can weigh their books down and tamp out the art. Italo Calvino, one of the great achievers of light prose, and who is therefore one of the most pleasurable writers to read on a purely aesthetic level, had a whole philosophy around lightness as a concept. I never read into it in any detail, but I sense that deWitt has an affinity with this idea, and in French Exit he has once again written a novel that is moving, and has substance, yes, but is mostly just a blissful, artful read.