'Someone Should Pay for Your Pain' by Alumnus Franz Nicolay '18 to be Released in Spring 2021

BY Nicole Saldarriaga, September 14, 2020

Alumnus Franz Nicolay '18 recently announced that his second book and first novel, Someone Should Pay for Your Pain, will be released in April 2021 by Gibson House Press.


Nicolay's novel follows singer-songwriter Rudy Pauver as he is forced to confront both his artistic limitations and his past. A messy estrangement from his successful former protégé and the sudden appearance of his runaway niece compel Rudy to grapple with his waning career, his choices, and his family ties. 


Independent Publishers Group writes, "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." 


The publication of Nicolay's first novel will be followed in 2022 by Band People, "a non-fiction study of the working and creative lives of musicians," published through the American Music Series at University of Texas Press.


Nicolay's 2016 travelogue, The Humorless Ladies of Border Control: Touring the Punk Underground from Belgrade to Ulaanbaatar (The New Press), made The New York Times's list of the "Season's Best Travel Books" and was praised by Kirkus as "a pleasing romp: punk in attitude but literary in execution and a fine work of armchair travel for those unwilling to strap on an accordion on the streets of Rostov for themselves."

In addition to his writing career, Nicolay is a musician best known for playing the accordion and piano in The World/Inferno Friendship Society and keyboards in The Hold Steady. He was once named #1 of the top ten accordionists in punk rock. He currently lectures on writing and music at University of California, Berkeley.