The author has created a work on Ravel that offers more interpretation than revelation, relies on an only moderately close reading of the score. It is, however, of interest in that so little is currently available on the composer. The themes are Ravel's symbiotic relationship with his mother (his love life with either sex seems to have been non-existent or negligible-he himself: ""Basically, the only love affair I have ever had was with music""), his undersize, leading to detachment and dandyism. The author takes up the works in turn as they enter into Ravel's chronology and assesses them without entering upon a thoroughgoing musical analysis. He remarks on Ravel's inclination to appear to submit to the rules but all the more emphatically to disobey them, quotes Ravel on his music and sources of creativity. Ravel as he endured his intolerable decline: ""I'm waiting,"" and at his death. ""I still have so much music to write."" Some of Ravel's elegance emerges; his essentially evasive personality (""One must have a head and guts, but never a heart"") remains private.