The Vexations

The Vexations Review

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. Later, as an ambitious young composer, Erik flings himself into the Parisian art scene, aiming for greatness but achieving only notoriety.
As the years, then decades, pass, he alienates those in his circle as often as he inspires them, lashing out at friends and lovers like Claude Debussy and Suzanne Valadon. Only Louise and Conrad are steadfast allies. Together they strive to maintain their faith in their brother's talent and hold fast the badly frayed threads of family. But in a journey that will take her from Normandy to Paris to Argentina, Louise is rocked by a severe loss that ultimately forces her into a reckoning with how Erik -- obsessed with his art and hungry for fame -- will never be the brother she's wished for.
With her buoyant, vivid reimagination of an iconic artist's eventful life, Caitlin Horrocks has written a captivating and ceaselessly entertaining novel about the tenacious bonds of family and the costs of greatness, both to ourselves and to those we love.

Title:The Vexations

    The Vexations Reviews

  • 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,...

  • 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. ...

  • 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 li...

  • 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 ...

  • 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 t...

  • 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 c...

  • Onceinabluemoon

    I had no idea what this book was about when I checked it out, just liked the cover, shortly in I started googling, ruining the story for me since I did so much research! It's amazing to me all that re...

  • Julie

    I loved it! Really interesting story, very well written. A wonderful piece of historical fiction!...

  • 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 ...

  • 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 fi...