The Vexations by Caitlin Horrocks

The Vexations

A "marvelous" (Wall Street Journal), "enthralling" (New York Times Book Review) debut novel about love, family, genius, and the madness of art, circling the life of eccentric composer Erik Satie and La Belle Époque Paris Erik Satie begins life with every possible advantage. But after the dual blows of his mother's early death and his father's breakdown upend his childhood, Erik and his younger siblings -- Louise and Conrad -- are scattered. La...

Details The Vexations

TitleThe Vexations
Release DateJul 30th, 2019
PublisherLittle, Brown and Company
GenreFiction, Historical, Historical Fiction, Music, Cultural, France

Reviews The Vexations

  • Nancy
    On February 18, 2018, we attended the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's French Festival to hear Claude Debussy's orchestration of Erik Satie's Gymnopédies Nos.1 & 3 along with music by Dukas, Saint-Saens, and Offenbach.I had not realized previously how much I loved French music! I wanted to attend every one of the concerts. The two Gymnopedies were the only music by Satie performed during the festival--only because Debussy had orchestrated them. The ...
  • Patricia
    Thanks to a Goodreads giveaway, I enjoyed an advance copy of THE VEXATIONS. French composer and pianist Erik Satie lived from 1866 to 1925 and was part of a memorable era of artistic change in Paris. Friends and acquaintances such as Claude Debussy, Picasso, Cocteau, Man Ray, and his one love, Suzanne Veladon endured his unpredictable and often fiery temperament while recognizing his exceptional talents. Descriptions of Satie include terms such a...
  • Suzanne
    I read 115 pages of this novel and still didn't care about any of the characters. I would return to the book each night before bed having forgotten what it was about. I picked up another book on my list, read 15 pages and was hooked. So....the writing maybe? The subject matter? The pace? Yes, all of those things makes The Vexations too vexing to keep reading. I've said it before and I'll say it again: life is too short for bad books.
  • Cherise Wolas
    I knew the name Erik Satie, but nothing else about him and if I have heard his music, then it was without having any idea, and so I found this a very interesting historical fiction novel. France, in the Belle Epoque, comes alive, a very dirty place filled with the haves and the have-nots, and those striving to be composers, poets, artists, and the like. The character I found most fascinating wasn't Satie actually - and indeed why he was as he was...
  • Melissa
    Book 4 finished for July 24in48. This is a very intimate novel about the life of Erik Satie and his sister, brother, and two friends who new him well. The writing is beautiful, particularly in those chapters from Satie’s perspective talking about “touch” or music, and Horrocks described the Montmartre Satie inhabited so well. The chapters from his sister Louise’s perspective are interesting; they are the only ones told in 1st person - I t...
  • Gayle Slagle
    The Vexations by Caitlin Horrocks is a fascinating novel that revolves around the life of Eric Satie, a French composer; to be honest, I had never heard of Satie even though I consider myself a lover of music. However, after reading this debut novel I can say that i have been given great insight into this remarkable artist. The novel entwines the lives of Satie's brother Conrad and of his sister Louise; it is sometimes humorous and sometimes hear...
  • Pat
    I received a free copy of "The Vexations" by Caitlin Horrocks through the "Good Reads First Reads Giveaway. This is a talented author, dealing with difficult subjects. She writes about a flawed family, but also includes interesting and unusual characters. The eccentric composer Erik Satie and his unusual family are well documented. Some readers may want more cohesion with the underlying story, while this novel is more a collection of short storie...
  • Pamela
    I'm totally under this book's spell. The Vexations is as funny as it is beautiful. It's about making art in the big city, but it's also about the absurdity of playing the role of a Great Artist. It's about family and how deep those ties can cut, but it's also about the leeway we give our most ridiculous loved ones. It's about Belle Epoque Paris, with all of its rowdy salons and ink-stained studios, but it's also about how much it sucks to be full...
  • Mark
    Strong historical romance centered around the eccentric composer Erik Satie and his family. Beautiful characterization and period detail. A few quibbles, like the inconsistent and unhistoric use of first names between adult men, and the need to invent a fictional character ("Philippe") when the real Contamine de Latour who he was based on was available. Still, an impressive novel.
  • Julie
    3.5 Fictionalized story of the difficult life of Erik Satie, told through the eyes of Satie himself, his brother and sister, and a collection of friends. I loved the setting and the musical allusions, but I thought it dragged in places. Certainly worth reading if you love his music or love Paris.
  • Doreen Ashbrook
    While this is a well written account of the life of Erik Satie ( sad, but compelling compositions), I found it to be somewhat ponderous. I did enjoy learning more about a composer whose life I really knew nothing about.
  • Lizenbyl
    I received this book as a part of the Good Reads give-away program. This book is about a dysfunctional family centered around the arts and musical life in Paris. The book seemed very disjointed and did not connect real well between chapters.
  • Leona Sweet
    This novel seems to bounce around from person to the other. The parts about the sister and brothers are more interesting than the others.
  • Karen
    I always admired the works of Erik Satie and enjoyed learning more about his life and the many people of his era that played a part in it. This is a work of fiction. Off to listen to some Satie....
  • Julie
    I loved it! Really interesting story, very well written. A wonderful piece of historical fiction!
  • Lindsey
    Review to come.