This is a short book, nominated for a major book prize. It did not win, so ones must conclude that the winning book was something out of the ordinary indeed. This is a fascinating "faction", a building of a plausible narrative about various seminal points in the composer's life. The need to do this comes from the fact that there is little information about Ravel's life, bar the bare bones. He left only his music, no diary, nor any life partner male or female. Those whom he knew declined to share their memories. For any one interested in Ravel, the person, this is an indispensable book. It must have been very special in French, as the author is well served by the translator. Cannot recommend this too highly.