In a voice that's "breezy, droll, and blithely transgressive" (NPR), deWitt brings to techno-colorful life the antics of an ensemble who, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reviewer finds, "behave with the precision and affectlessness
of the people in Wes Anderson films." French Exit is animated throughout with trenchant dialogue, such as Frances's exchange with a homeless person regarding the consumption of two gallons of spirits: "Wouldn't you feel awful in the morning?" "That's what mornings are for, ma'am." The NPR reviewer writes that the novel shouldn't be subjected to serious scrutiny, and the San Francisco Chronicle critic adds that while it might not resonate with readers "in need of a sure or consistent path forward," one thing's for sure: that Frances is one "classy broad."
(Still, it's a notable distance from the utter affectlessness
and indifference we hear about in the campus hook-up culture today.)
This Barthes is the critic of withdrawal, emptied reserve, and affectlessness
, all obliquely quickening notions that Ricco interprets throughout Barthes's writings, but especially in Camera Lucida's own mixture of sexuality and aesthetics.
A trend of affectlessness
. Avoiding sincerity, but not as a clear strategy, and not, as far as I could see, in service of any other aspect of poetry--language or social structures or some other area of interest.
It's a mesmerising film, one that evokes the affectlessness
of modern war and the powerlessness of its victims.
If the static and measurable urban space represents the affectlessness
and alienation of "human writing", Shao's itinerant ghost sounds penetrating these "solid" structures allegorize the modern as a liberational force in its atomizing thrust.