“A knockout fiction debut”—Buzzfeed

Someone Should Pay for Your Pain hits the backroads with singer-songwriter Rudy Pauver as he navigates a conflicted relationship with a successful protégé and the unexpected arrival of his spirited young niece.

In the doldrums of a career as a cult figure, Rudy has been overshadowed by Ryan Orland, to the point where Rudy is now identified as an imitator of the younger man. Ryan is generous and supportive, but Rudy finds it hard to be grateful, especially as a sordid confrontation results in their estrangement. When his sister’s daughter, a teenage runaway, turns up asking to join him on the road, Rudy has to come to terms with the limits of his ambition and the nature of his obligation to family.

Someone Should Pay for Your Pain is an exploration of the nature of creativity and popular success; artistic and ethical influence; the pathos of the middle-aged artist; changing standards of sexual morality; and guilt and penance in a post-religious society.

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Wise, brutal and funny, Someone Should Pay for Your Pain is a bruising and beautiful glimpse of the endless tour of broken dreams some of us call life. But as Franz Nicolay shows in this stunning fiction debut, there is still hope. You just might have to fight yourself for it.” —Sam Lipsyte, author of The Ask

“I love this for novel for its sensitivity to the tenderness and absurdity of human after human, city after city, year after year. 
“Someone Should Pay for Your Pain” is a marvel, and when I finished it, my first emotion was to return to the opening pages and read it all over again.” —Rivka Galchen, author of Atmospheric Disturbances

If you’ve been waiting for the great rock and roll novel look no further. Franz Nicolay’s Someone Should Pay for Your Pain smashes Don Delillo’s Great Jones Street against a chaste Lolita. Nicolay’s book focuses on the illusion of stardom and the reality that most musicians play mainly in dingy clubs to sparse if passionate fans. Rudy, the book’s hero, lays down insights into art making as well as the wide variety of hangovers all the while moving fitfully toward a great dilation of care.” —Darcey Steinke, author of Suicide Blonde

Someone Should Pay For Your Pain is a poignant and powerfully honest meditation on aging, art-making, and failure. With a sharp ear and an unsparing eye, Franz Nicolay has reinvented the road novel, stripping it of wide-eyed, Kerouac-ian grandeur to expose the frozen landscapes—both external and internal—that are part and parcel of a rootless existence. It’s a book that will haunt me for a long time to come.” —Adam Wilson, author of Sensation Machines

“Nicolay’s ear goes beyond music. There is confidence and grace in these pages, characters that feel pulled from daily life, none of their rough edges sanded down. A debut novel not just for artists, but anyone who’s ever felt like they’ve grown up and distorted, uncomfortable moving through the world.” —Jean Kyoung Frazier, author of Pizza Girl

“The life of an artist is really about giving. That’s especially so for the musician. You give all of yourself to your art and it’s likely you won’t get much back in return. It’s a tough world, but few can write about it as beautifully as Franz Nicolay. With Someone Should Pay for Your Pain, Nicolay gives us the sort of fully-realized, there’s no going back kind of story that’s hauntingly reminiscent of something between Denis Johnson and Nick Hornby, but filtered through the lens of somebody who has actually gotten in the van.” —Jason Diamond, author of The Sprawl

“Rudy Pauver is a middle-aged musician with mid-level talent, still out there on the road, still grinding, still trying, but he’s not quite sure why. In this beautifully and brutally honest novel, Franz Nicolay challenges our romantic notions of freedom and the working artist’s life. He crafts a story that any reader, mired in the daily disappointments of what their life was supposed to have been, can embrace.” —Cari Luna, author of The Revolution of Every Day

“Franz Nicolay’s poetic takedown of a musician’s extended adolescence goes down smoother than a drink ticket beer. Read it before you get in the van.” —Chris Terry, author of Black Card
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