Elissa Strauss of Jezebel on the sordid story behind the glowing literary accolades:
Alexander Maksik's new novel You Deserve Nothing tells a steamy story about a student-teacher affair at an international school in Paris. Reviewers have called it a "bravura performance" and "rivetingly plotted" written with "dazzling clarity and philosophical rigor." But what they don't know, what Maksik has never mentioned, is that the story may be true.
According to former students I spoke with, in the spring of 2006 Alexander Maksik lost his position teaching at the American School of Paris (ASP) for having an affair with a seventeen-year-old student. Their relationship allegedly lasted over a semester, and ended when Maksik was quietly dismissed by the school shortly after the young woman, named Marie in the book, had an abortion. The students said nearly everything that happens in the book happened in real life, and almost all the characters are based on real people.
The real-life "Marie," whom I corresponded with via email, said that she is disgusted that he is getting literary kudos for re-telling her very real story. She said Maksik included a number of very personal things she told him in confidence in the book, and that she has worked for the past five years to move past the shame and guilt she felt as a result of the affair only to re-encounter it all again in a widely praised novel. Maksik never asked her for permission.