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You Deserve Nothing

A New York Times Bestseller
An IndieBound Bestseller 

Set in Paris, at an international high school catering to the sons and daughters of wealthy, influential families, You Deserve Nothing is a gripping story of power, idealism, and morality. In Maksik’s stylish prose, Paris is sensual, dazzling and dangerously seductive. It serves as a fitting backdrop for a dramatic tale about the tension between desire and action, and about the complex relationship that exists between our public and private selves.


“A novel rivetingly plotted and beautifully written. . . [Maksik] writes about the moral ambiguity of Will’s circumstances with dazzling clarity and impressive philosophical rigor.”

The New York Times

“Marvelous . . . provocative . . . suspenseful.”

-The Chicago Tribune, Editor’s Choice

“Maksik, in his account of adolescent yearning and grown-up fallibility, does something like what Hemingway did in his non-debut memoir, “A Moveable Feast” – he vividly evokes a destination for generations of foreign seekers.”

-The San Francisco Chronicle

“While comparisons with Donna Tartt and J D Salinger are apt given the high school setting and philosophical digressions, it’s Ian McEwan who comes most readily to mind. Maksik’s Paris is brilliantly sketched and demythologized. YOU DESERVE NOTHING arrives with a fanfare of acclaim. Alexander Maksik proves himself a worthy recipient of this attention.”

The Times Literary Supplement

“A suberb debut novel.”

-The Sunday Times

“With writing that is reminiscent of James Salter’s in its sensuality, Francine Prose’s capacious inquiry into difficult moral questions and Martin Amis’s loose-limbed evocation of the perils of youth, Maksik brings us back to that point in all our lives when character is molten, integrity elusive and beauty unbearably thrilling.”

The Christian Science Monitor

“Largely a character study of Will Silver, master teacher at the International School of France in Paris, the novel advances its narrative through multiple perspectives, much as Faulkner does in As I Lay Dying . . . Both intelligent and intellectual, [YOU DESERVE NOTHING] is both a tribute to brilliant teachers and a cautionary tale of their imperfections.”

Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

“One of the most engaged reads I’ve had in years.”

– Alice Sebold, Author of The Lovely Bones

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 café or a cup of tea while tucked safely in bed

– A.M. Homes, Author of May We Be Forgiven

You Deserve Nothing is a powerful, absorbing novel and Alexander Maksik is an unusually gifted writer.”

– Tom Perrotta, Author of Little Children, Election, and The Leftovers

“The phrase ‘brilliant debut’ is much overused in our world, but Alexander Maksik’s You Deserve Nothing is truly one of those rarest of creatures, a brilliant debut.  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, troubling, unflinching book, as honest and rich a depiction of life’s contradictions as I’ve encountered in many years.”

– Ben Fountain, Author of Brief Encounters with Che Guevarra


UK - John Murray Publishers

Italy – Edizioni E/O

Spain – Miscelánea

Korea – Book 21

Russia – AST

Netherlands - De Bezige Bij

Germany - Droemer Knaur

France – Payot & Rivages