The Value of Nothing is a story of extremes, a drama of love and betrayal, wealth and poverty, which takes place in the parts of Paris we’re not meant to see.
Youssef Tigha lives in a makeshift camp in the centre of Paris. He’s twelve years old. An Arab. Michael Finistere is a financier with several homes.
Chance, or fate, brings the migrant and the multi-millionaire together. For one of them, life will never be the same again.
Youssef Tigha’s world is lived minute by minute, his territory not the golden heart of the world’s most beautiful city, but the land bounded by the great railway termini. The train carrying Eurostar passengers into Paris passes over the migrant camp just outside the Gard du Nord where Youssef lives.
Youssef regards the tracks as his home, the ugly part of the city that Parisians don’t want, any more than they want him.
Michael Finistere has come to Paris to finalise details of the development of a series of warehouses not far from the Gard du Nord. With him is his young assistant, Mary Houlihan. Finistere’s potential business partner is Frenchman Erik Mollet.
The cast is gathered. But the deal has yet to be signed.
Into the mix is introduced failed opera singer Sophie Arditti, now a translator, a woman who is to cast an almost magical spell over the young migrant boy, as well as the financier.
On the face of it, Youssef Tigha has nothing and Michael Finstere has everything. In The Value of Nothing they play out a modern opera, a story for these troubled times in which the future is perilous and love, more than ever, is uncertain.
Available from Quartet and Amazon and bookshops October 2019
‘…grips from the first page until the last … perfectly pitched and heartbreaking.’ Julia Hobsbawm