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Chicago Tribune Editor's Choice: "Highly recommended."

Date: Oct 20 2011

Editor's choice

Fans of "Good-Bye, Mr. Chips" and "Dead Poets Society" may be drawn to "You Deserve Nothing."

October 19, 2011|By Elizabeth Taylor | Literary editor


Fans of "Good-Bye, Mr. Chips" and "Dead Poets Society" may be drawn to "You Deserve Nothing," for it shares the ever-rich context of a gifted teacher who inspires even troubled students to great success. This first novel, however, set in Paris at an international boarding school attended by the offspring of the rich and famous, is a marvelous variation on the theme. The charismatic instructor of Camus, Faulkner and Sartre has his own issues, and the novel, told from his perspective and that of two of his students, is provocative and suspenseful.

"You Deserve Nothing" is sure to spark robust book group discussions about the student-teacher relationship, and particularly whether teachers can ever live up to the ideals of the classroom.

This novel comes highly recommended by Alice Sebold, who rose to fame with her own provocative debut novel, "The Lovely Bones" and is now celebrating stellar new fiction through Tonga Books, a new imprint of Europa Editions.

"You Deserve Nothing"
By Alexander Maksik
Tonga Books/Europa Editions, 322 pages, $15

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