The Books

Strange Mr. Satie

by M.T. Anderson
Illustrated by Petra Mathers

One Potato Review

The light – but also the considerable darkness – of one man’s artistic determination. “When will people get out of the habit of explaining everything?” fumes Satie. This is consistent with his sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes hilarious tantrums (he actually throws his girlfriend out of a window at one point; she’s an acrobat fortunately. Still, she leaves him). He plays the piano mostly, and participates in larger, conceptual spectacles which almost nobody understands. Furious audiences accompany these performances, and scandalized critics. There’s a little comprehension when he moves to Paris (of course), but Anderson is not romanticizing the perils of genius here – if that is what it is. Satie even chucks it for a while, or he tries to, “dropping in” to school again after twenty years, trying to get his act together, fix up, look sharp, though he cannot help himself in the end. Searching and sophisticated.

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