A Novel

The international bestseller by “the master magician of the contemporary French novel” (The Washington Post)

“Echenoz puts his enchanting imagination to work exploring the mundane, the curmudgeonly, the quirky. . . . [A] beautifully musical little novel.” —The New York Times Book Review

Ravel is a beguiling and original evocation of the last ten years in the life of the musical genius Ravel, written by novelist Jean Echenoz.

The book opens in 1928 as Maurice Ravel—dandy, eccentric, curmudgeon—crosses the Atlantic abroad the luxury liner the SS France to begin his triumphant grand tour of the United States. A “master magician of the French novel” (The Washington Post), Echenoz captures the folly of the era as well as its genius, including Ravel’s personal life—sartorially and socially splendid—as well as his most successful compositions from 1927 to 1937.

Illuminated by flashes of Echenoz’s characteristically sly humor, Ravel is a delightfully quirky portrait of a famous musician coping with the ups and downs of his illustrious career. It is also a beautifully written novel that’s a deeply touching farewell to a dignified and lonely man going reluctantly into the night.



“Rarely has the difficult craft of storytelling been as well mastered.”
The Times Literary Supplement
“An exquisitely written novel.”
“Every word is perfectly placed; the writing is fluid . . . like a garment that fits beautifully even inside-out.”
Elle (Paris)
“[A] fascinating portrait of a musical genius, a strange and lonely character who was never at peace with himself.”
France Today
“Echenoz’s prose is stylish and delightfully soft-pedaled . . . leaving the sensation of a life lived exclusively for the creation of art.”
Publishers Weekly

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Goodreads Reviews