Jean Echenoz
Employing a masterful economy of expression reminiscent of the French Existentialists, Echenoz examines the final decades of the life of composer, Maurice Ravel. The author gives photographic details of Ravel's personal effects, from his opulent surroundings on an ocean-liner to his obsessively perfect dress. Small details are elevated in importance while the people in Ravel's life are vague and insignificant. This short book is well written and makes for a quick and interesting read especially as the successful composer descends into an inexplicable early dementia. This novel is not so much about Ravel as it is about the emptiness of a life lived devoid of human interaction despite accomplishments and accolades.
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