The Vexations

The Vexations

by Caitlin Horrocks

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Overview

This "enthralling" debut novel and Wall Street Journal Top Ten Book of the Year circles the life of eccentric composer Erik Satie in La Belle Époque Paris and examines love, family, genius, and the madness of art (New York Times Book Review).


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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316316910
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 07/30/2019
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 322,957
Product dimensions: 9.50(w) x 6.20(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Caitlin Horrocks is the author of the story collection This Is Not Your City and a recipient of the O. Henry Prize, the Pushcart Prize, and the Plimpton Prize. Her fiction has appeared in the New Yorker, the Atlantic, the Paris Review, Tin House, One Story, and elsewhere and has been included in The Best American Short Stories. She lives with her family in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

What People are Saying About This

Author of the National Book Critics Circle Award winner Improvement - Joan Silber

“What a fabulous, original novel The Vexations is. Its unflinching honesty about an artistic world notable for both heart and heartlessness has given us a haunting, indelible story.”

Customer Reviews