You Deserve Nothing by Alexander Maksik

William Silver is the school celebrity. He’s the teacher that all the students look up to, and all the faculty loves. His lessons are performances that ask philosophical life questions to kids in a way that make them feel like he’s their friend.

Gilad is the quiet student that’s smart enough to challenge this teacher, but too young to really feel confident doing it. He craves his approval and sees the best parts of him. He also suffers from a horrible home life and a nonexistent social life.

Marie is pretty much your average girl. She’s got a best frenemy, a judgmental mother, and an absent father. But toward her last year of school she gets into an illicit affair with Mr. Silver.

Set in modern day France, You Deserve Nothing follows these characters and the goings on at the International School of France. It touches on the protests of American’s invasion of Iraq, the implications about human responsibility, and the ability to exercise your own freedom. It does this without shying away out of guilt, but still maintaining a lyrical, soft tone. Continue reading

Condominium by Daniel Falatko

“Then you’re trapped in your lovely nest, and the things you used to own, now they own you.” —Chuck Palahniuk

 

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 1.42.52 PM.pngCharles and Sarah are a typical New York creative class couple — he’s in finance, she works at a hipster small press, yet both are indie-rock East Village veterans who aren’t above snorting a little heroin on the weekends. But when they decide to take the logical next step and buy a condo in one of the glass-and-steel skyscrapers now dotting the waterfront of Williamsburg, their lives start to fall apart almost the moment after they sign their mortgage; and this is to say nothing of their creepy neighbors, their possibly haunted apartment, job crises in both their industries, and former friends still in Manhattan who are determined to pull them back into the debauchery. A touching ode to the a–holes ruining Brooklyn, this literary debut of “the Snake Person John Updike” is a funny yet wistful dramedy about young urban life during the Time of Shedding and Cold Rocks, and you do not need to be a New Yorker yourself to enjoy his smart insights about city living and growing older…although that certainly doesn’t hurt.

Falatko’s Condominium takes place within the time span of just one week, with sections separated by day. Charles & Sarah have just moved in their new condo & it serves as a symbol of their semi-fucked up lives. The one thing they have in common is that they feel like the condo owns them instead of the other way around. In Bret Easton Ellis form, it’s a novel about materialism, existentialism, consumerism, & every other ism, but simultaneously about absolutely nothing. But unlike Bret Easton Ellis, it didn’t really have those stand-out sentences of epiphany. There was no “people are afraid to merge” type of sentence that really hits it home hard. However, there were incredible moments of clarity. Several scenes that were so unique, but also seemed almost like non-fiction. Continue reading