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You Deserve Nothing by [Maksik, Alexander]
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You Deserve Nothing Kindle Edition

3.6 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

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Length: 321 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

"Alexander Maksik's relentless engagement of ideas and literature and the depiction of his characters makes for one of the most engaged reads I've had in years."-Alice Sebold

"You Deserve Nothing is a bracing, challenging, enthralling debut. It is a novel that rings true from first page to last, refusing the false notion of easy choices, inhabiting, rather, the moral maze of lived life. Here is a gifted writer who understands why the artful telling of a difficult story is a brave and important thing to do. Read this book."-John Burnham Schwartz, author of "Reservation Road"

"A provocative, constantly surprising, and original novel written with precision and grace. Maksik is unflinching in his exploration of the sexual awakening of the young, and the moral complexity of adulthood. This is a thrilling debut."-Susanna Moore, author of "In the Cut" and "The Big Girls"



"One of the most engaged reads I''ve had in years."---Alice Sebold

"Alexander Maksik deftly evokes the beauty and pathos of Paris, and the story of Will, Gilad and Marie-each compelled towards moral and sexual awakening- is at once dark and luminous. This is a book to be read all at once with a glass of wine in a cafe or a cup of tea while tucked safely in bed."---A.M. Homes

""You Deserve Nothing" is a powerful, absorbing novel about a charismatic expatriate teacher and the students whose lives he transforms, for better and worse. Alexander Maksik is an unusually gifted writer."---Tom Perrotta

""You Deserve Nothing" rings true from first page to last. Here is a writer who understands why the artful telling of a difficult story is a brave and important thing to do. Read this book."---John Burnham Schwartz

"Alexander Maksik''s first novel, "You Deserve Nothing", is a thoroughly engaging, passionate, and challenging read that finely walks the line between morality and amorality. In a society, and at a time, when individual identity is so closely tied to collective narcissism, Maksik''s novel asks what are the true sources of selfworth? And how shall we live?"---Tom Jenks, editor, Narrative magazine

"A provocative, constantly surprising, and original novel. This is a thrilling debut."---Susanna Moore

"Maksik''s superb novel takes on the most fundamental question-how are we supposed to live?-with a freshness and urgency that are nothing short of masterful. This is a gorgeous book, as honest and rich a depiction of life''s contradictions as I''ve encountered in many years."---Ben Fountain

"Maksik's superb novel takes on the most fundamental question-how are we supposed to live?-with a freshness and urgency that are nothing short of masterful. This is a gorgeous book, as honest and rich a depiction of life's contradictions as I've encountered in many years."---Ben Fountain

"Alexander Maksik's first novel, "You Deserve Nothing", is a thoroughly engaging, passionate, and challenging read that finely walks the line between morality and amorality. In a society, and at a time, when individual identity is so closely tied to collective narcissism, Maksik's novel asks what are the true sources of selfworth? And how shall we live?"---Tom Jenks, editor, Narrative magazine

"One of the most engaged reads I've had in years." Alice Sebold
"Alexander Maksik deftly evokes the beauty and pathos of Paris, and the story of Will, Gilad and Marie-each compelled towards moral and sexual awakening- is at once dark and luminous. This is a book to be read all at once with a glass of wine in a cafe or a cup of tea while tucked safely in bed." A.M. Homes
"You Deserve Nothing is a powerful, absorbing novel about a charismatic expatriate teacher and the students whose lives he transforms, for better and worse. Alexander Maksik is an unusually gifted writer." Tom Perrotta
"You Deserve Nothing rings true from first page to last. Here is a writer who understands why the artful telling of a difficult story is a brave and important thing to do. Read this book." John Burnham Schwartz
"A provocative, constantly surprising, and original novel. This is a thrilling debut." Susanna Moore
"Maksik's superb novel takes on the most fundamental question-how are we supposed to live?-with a freshness and urgency that are nothing short of masterful. This is a gorgeous book, as honest and rich a depiction of life's contradictions as I've encountered in many years." Ben Fountain
"Alexander Maksik's first novel, You Deserve Nothing, is a thoroughly engaging, passionate, and challenging read that finely walks the line between morality and amorality. In a society, and at a time, when individual identity is so closely tied to collective narcissism, Maksik's novel asks what are the true sources of selfworth? And how shall we live?" Tom Jenks, editor, Narrative magazine"

Review

'One of the most engaged reads I've had in years' -- Alice Sebold 'A hugely satisfying and thought-provoking novel...There are echoes of The Secret History but You Deserve Nothing may be even more immediately appealing' -- Daily Mail 'Just the right amount of melancholy and, yes, even romance' -- Daily Telegraph 'Deftly evokes the beauty and pathos of Paris...This is a book to be read all at once with a glass of wine in a cafe or a cup of tea while tucked safely in bed' -- A.M. Homes 'Rivetingly plotted and beautifully written' -- New York Times 'You Deserve Nothing ... reminds the reader how powerful ideas and literature can be - not just by creating a memorably complex character in Will, but with some stunning prose of its own as well' -- Independent on Sunday 'Superb' -- Sunday Times 'A provocative, constantly surprising, and original novel written with precision and grace. [A] thrilling debut' -- Susanna Moore 'A gorgeous, troubling, unflinching book, as honest and rich a depiction of life's contradictions as I've encountered in many years' -- Ben Fountain 'An extraordinary read' -- Red Magazine 'An extraordinary read' -- Red Magazine

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2017 KB
  • Print Length: 321 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray (15 Sept. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005HVR9GA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #151,133 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Sid Nuncius #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 2 Aug. 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I thought this was a fantastic book. I wouldn't normally have bothered with it because I didn't like the sound of it at all - it has an off-putting title, it is set among wealthy teenagers in an American International School and has a plot synopsis which sounds like Dead Poets Society written by a French existentialist - but I am lucky that a friend whose judgement I trust recommended it to me. It turned out to be one of the best-written, most thoughtful and most intellectually and emotionally engaging books I have read for a long time, and I found myself as gripped by it as by a really good thriller.

The story is of an inspirational teacher and his relationships with his students. Alexander Maksik manages to make this both fresh and enthralling. He tells the story through three first-person narratives, the teacher himself and two of his students, one male and one female. All three voices are brilliantly done: distinctive, convincing and with real insight into their characters, and every character in the book is wholly believable. I thought he showed exceptional insight into the sheer thrill of being an inspiring teacher and into being a thoughtful 17-year-old with that nagging sense that other people have the answers but you don't. What really makes the book stand out, though, is the way the characters wrestle with ideas, idealism, the tension between what you want to be and what you find you can be, and the difference between our public faces and private interiors. I found this utterly riveting and extremely moving in places.

The prose is excellent. It is readable, unfussy and unpretentious, and sometimes very affecting.
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By Raven TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 29 Feb. 2012
Format: Paperback
In the blurb at the front this author is compared to J.D.Salinger, Ian McEwan, Martin Amis, Donna Tartt and others but I can't help feeling that this list should merely be used as a guide to who this writer aspires to, as I certainly wouldn't put him in the same class as these luminaries of fiction. I found the whole thing a poor man's 'Dead Poet's Society' interspersed with a rather unbelievable romance between pupil and teacher that seemed entirely superficial and cliched to the nth degree. The only parts of the book I found remotely interesting were some of the existential discussions between the affirmation seeking teacher and his pupils in relation to certain texts they were studying but I had no real empathy, or indeed any kind of emotional connection to any of the characters. I felt that the atmosphere of Paris was quite well-drawn, and this along with the discussions previously mentioned raised this from a 2* to a 3* review. Probably not an author that I would seek out again...
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By elsie purdon TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 19 Feb. 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When I read this book some months ago I was surprised at my own reaction. I hated it.
I attempted to write a review but wasn't happy with what I'd written so gave up.

I read some of the reviews and at that time the book was well received. Words being used to describe it were all highly intellectual and I thought perhaps I was just out of my depth.
I felt uncomfortable while reading this book, it reminded me of Nabokov's Lolita. Middle-aged man lusts after a much younger woman and has all kinds of reasons and rationalisations for doing so. This is a story of a tutor exploiting his position with a young student. Except that it is based heavily on his own real life. So is that really a novel? This would be closer to being a memoir, or at least it would be more honest to have written it as a memoir. I was interested to read that in fact the author Alexander Maksik has now been exposed as using his real life in this novel. Also, students that have been to the American School of Paris know who the young woman is. He could be exploiting her all over again. If you want you can read more on this you can via this book's reviews on Amazon.com.

For me the actual plot is nothing new or interesting. The bones of it are: sad tutor wants to cling on to youth by being "popular" with his students and seducing a young female student. I personally was not really impressed even by his writing. I personally didn't feel it was particularly original or inspiring. I think it is unfair to J.D.Salinger to compare it to his book Catcher In The Rye. That was a book that inspired young people and is still regarded as a classic.

I am aware how out of step I am with almost all the other reviews are. I haven't bothered to write about the storyline because that is well covered by the other reviews.
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Format: Paperback
I could not resist buying this book given that I am a former student of the school where the author taught before being encouraged to resign following his inappropriate relationship with one of his students. The girl this book is based on is real and the author is the protagonist. In fact virtually all of the characters are clumsily distorted real people.

I was hoping that he would have the courage to publish a novel which broadly stuck to the truth and considered events which led to him hanging out at student parties and grooming his students. Instead he presents a self-indulgent fantasy. Everyone in the book either wants to be the protagonist or wants to sleep with him. Despite everyone being based on real people the author still manages to make his characters sound unrealistic with "dude"s peppered throughout the dialogue.

If the author had the courage to analyse the situation through his book in a realistic manner (a lonely teacher with self esteem issues getting so caught up in being `in' with the cool crowd, admittedly 15 years too late, that he crosses the line from being a bit sad to being a predator) then this could have been a fascinating read. Instead the story cuts out the moral ambiguity and we are left a pathetic man's self aggrandising delusions. Not a good read.
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