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The Daily Beast: "the enduring story of the clash of the personal moral codes we mouth and the private and hidden imperatives that compel us."

Date: Sep 13 2011

Iowa Writer’s Workshop graduate Alexander Maksik offers as his debut novel set in Paris, a tale taut with the tensions of moral complexity and carnal temptation. Which means there is unruly sex and literary dialogue and cogitation.

William Silver teaches at a private school in Paris catering to, what only a few years ago was referred to as the jet set (sons and daughters of dictators and their oligarchical cronies). He is a brilliant but unorthodox mentor, gaining both the devotion of his students and the concerned attention of his colleagues. He relies on authors as varied as Albert Camus, William Faulkner, Jean Paul Sartre, John Keats, and William Shakespeare to illuminate discussions of living by a moral compass. Havoc ensues when Silver is overcome by the hyper-sensuality of the City of Light.

You Deserve Nothing (Europa Editions), told through the eyes of Silver and two students, Gilad and Marie, is the enduring story of the clash of the personal moral codes we mouth and the private and hidden imperatives that compel us. Alexander Maksik depicts it fearlessly—and brilliantly, with graceful exactitude.